Health Department alert: Measles exposure at NH restaurant

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A child with measles. File/Wikipedia

 


CONCORD, NH –  The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Division of Public Health Services (DPHS) is investigating after an international traveler, who was visiting Massachusetts and recently traveled to New Hampshire, was subsequently found to be infected with the measles virus.

The only known public exposure site in New Hampshire was the Flatbread Company restaurant in Portsmouth on April 20 between the hours of approximately 3 and 6 p.m.

There are no cases identified related to this situation, and New Hampshire is well protected from  measles transmission due to a high vaccination rate in our school-aged children, including a more than 96 percent measles vaccination rate in preschool children. However, DHHS is encouraging people who were at the exposure site during those hours to monitor themselves for symptoms.

Symptoms of measles infection usually begin with high fever, cough, runny nose, and conjunctivitis several days prior to development of a body rash. Anybody who feels sick should call their healthcare provider before going directly to a healthcare facility.

“We are still in the early stages of investigating, but we do not anticipate a large outbreak because of the high vaccination rate of people in the State,” said Dr. Benjamin Chan, State Epidemiologist. “But it is possible there could be cases in New Hampshire related to travel by this individual. It is a good time for people to check their own vaccination status if they were born in or after 1957.”

NH DHHS recommends that all people review their vaccination status with their healthcare providers to ensure adequate immunity to measles. DHHS is asking anybody who was at the restaurant during the above time frame, who was born in 1957 or after, and who has not been adequately vaccinated for measles or found to have evidence of measles immunity to contact the DHHS Division of Public Health Services at 603-271-4496 to discuss risks of infection and transmission of the virus.

Measles is caused by a virus that is passed from person to person through the air when someone with the disease sneezes, coughs, or talks. It is very easy for individuals who have not received the measles vaccine to contract it from someone else. The measles virus can remain in the air for up to two hours after an infected person visits and leaves and area. The above time frame for exposure at the Portsmouth restaurant includes this two hour window after the infectious person left the restaurant. The incubation period for measles from the time of exposure is typically 10 to 14 days, but can be as long as 21 days.

For more information about measles prevention, download the DHHS Measles Fact Sheet at http://www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/cdcs/documents/measles.pdf, visit the DHHS Immunization Program webpage at www.dhhs.nh.gov/immunization/index.htm, and visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at http://www.cdc.gov/measles/index.html.


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About Carol Robidoux 5211 Articles
Journalist and editor of ManchesterInkLink.com, a hyperlocal news and information site for Manchester, NH.
  • LauraCondon

    1. Which strain of measles was it? The wild strain or the vaccine-derived strain?
    2. Was it the result of vaccination?
    3. If NH DHHS does not report on vaccination status the assumption is they don’t want to admit vaccine failure. Vaccination status us usually only mentioned if the person is unvaccinated.
    4. Was this a young adult? This is the age that most measles cases are now occurring. In those who have been “fully vaccinated”. Vaccines do not result in true, life-long immunity. One shot didn’t work. Two shots don’t last. Now we have a young adult population at risk of an illness that is mild for children but more serious for adults.
    5. Not sure what the 1957 date is all about. There was no measles vaccine before 1963. We all got natural measles and have had life-long immunity.
    6. The CDC admits the measles vaccine used from 1963 to 1968 was a failure. So no “effective” vaccine before 1968. People were still developing measles and measles immunity…or was the disease experiencing a significant and natural decline like all illness during that time period?

    It is unfortunate that measles hysteria has spread to NH.

  • Thanks for your comment, LauraCondon. I’ve forwarded your questions to Dr. Chan at DHHS. I will follow up and let you know if I get answers.

  • Hi Laura: Answers to your questions have been posted in a new story. Read here: http://goo.gl/6jAzxg