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Health Department confirms local measles case

ALBANY -- A local case of measles was confirmed by the New York State Department of Health on Tuesday.
The case was confirmed in a student at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and the Health Department said that public exposure may have happened at a number of different off-campus locations.

From the New York State Department of Health:
Anyone who was a patient or accompanied a patient to Samaritan Hospital Emergency Department, Troy, New York (Rensselaer County), from 8:00 p.m. on Friday, January 31, through 3:45 a.m. on Saturday, February 1, and is not immune to measles (see criteria below) should contact the hospital or county health department immediately to determine if they should get treatment. Preventive treatment must be given within six (6) days of the exposure.
  • Samaritan Hospital: 518-271-3708 (before 4 p.m.); 518-271-3424 (after 4 p.m.)
  • Rensselaer County Department of Health: 518-270-2655
  • Schenectady County Department of Health: 518-386-2810
In addition,  anyone who visited the following locations on the dates and times listed below could have been exposed to measles:
  • RPI Campus, Troy, NY (Rensselaer County), from January 26th  January 31st
  • Mohonasen High School, Schenectady, NY (Schenectady County), on January 26th from 7 a.m. through 2 p.m. Individuals may have been visiting the school for a volleyball tournament.
Anyone who was at these locations during these times should contact the local (county) health department where they reside to determine if they are a candidate to receive preventive treatment.

Individuals are not at risk of contracting measles if they are immune. A person is considered immune if they have received two doses of Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) vaccine OR if they were born before January 1, 1957, OR have a history of laboratory-confirmed measles, OR have a blood test confirming immunity.

In order to prevent the spread of illness, the state and local health departments are also advising individuals who may have been exposed and who have symptoms consistent with measles to call their health care providers or a local emergency room BEFORE going for care. This will help to prevent others at these facilities from being exposed to the illness.

Measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by a virus and is spread by contact with nasal or throat secretions of infected people. Measles can lead to serious side effects and, in rare cases, death. Measles symptoms usually appear in 10 to 12 days, but can occur as late as 18 days after exposure. Symptoms generally appear in two stages.

In the first stage, which lasts two to four days, the individual may have a runny nose, cough and a slight fever. Eyes may become reddened and sensitive to light while the fever gradually rises each day, often peaking as high as 103 to 105 F. Small bluish white spots surrounded by a reddish area may also appear on the gums and inside of the cheeks.

The second stage begins on the third to seventh day and consists of a red blotchy rash lasting five to six days. The rash usually begins on the face and then spreads downward and outward, reaching the hands and feet. The rash fades in the same order that it appeared, from head to extremities. Although measles is usually considered a childhood disease, it can be contracted at any age.

The single best way to prevent measles is to be vaccinated. Most New Yorkers have been vaccinated but if unsure, they should check with their physician. Individuals should receive 2 doses of MMR vaccine to be protected. The first dose should be given at 12-15 months of age and the second dose is routinely given at 4 to 6 years of age, but may be given as soon as 28 days after the first dose. Anyone who is not immune to measles should receive 2 doses of MMR vaccine at least 28 days apart.

If you are an RPI student you may contact their Student Health Center at 518-276-6287.

More information about measles can be found at: http://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/measles/fact_sheet.htm.