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Maine Health Officials Warn of Possible Exposure to Measles

Photo by CDC via Getty Images

State health officials are warning shoppers of a possible measles exposure. A Western European student was in Maine earlier this month while infected with the disease.

The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention was notified Tuesday by Massachusetts public health officials that a student who tested positive for measles visited the Kittery Outlet Malls on April 20th while infected with the virus. The Massachusetts student is from Western Europe and was unvaccinated. Officials say he shopped at the outlet malls between noon and 3 p.m. and stopped in stores including, but not limited to, The Kittery Trading Post, Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, and J. Crew.

“Since measles is a contagious airborne disease, people who were at the Kittery malls from noon to 5 p.m on April 20th should check their immunization records and be aware of symptoms,” Dr. Christopher Pezzullo, Acting Chief Health Officer of the Maine Department of Health and Human Services said in a press release.

People who are vaccinated are unlikely to be affected by exposure. Symptoms include fever, cough, runny nose, and red, watery eyes. Three to five days after symptoms begin, a rash breaks out. It usually starts as flat, red spots that appear on the face at the hairline and spread downward. Infected people are contagious from four days before their rash through four days after.

Pezzullo says, “As the exposure took place nine days ago, early treatments for those who have been impacted is not effective. We recommend that a person with symptoms contact their primary care provider by phone to discuss treatment, as isolation to prevent the spread of measles may be necessary.”

Maine’s last case of measles was reported in 1997, and there are currently no cases of Measles in the state. Pezzullo says that since Maine has a high vaccination rate against measles, a widespread outbreak is unlikely. This event serves as a strong reminder of the importance of vaccination against the disease, according to Pezzullo.

 

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