AUGUSTA, Maine — An alert was issued Tuesday by the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC), notifying people in southern Maine of a potential exposure to measles.
Maine CDC says it was notified on April 1 by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health of a confirmed case of measles in a Massachusetts resident, who had visited two Maine businesses last Wednesday, March 27.
The two facilities were then contacted by Maine CDC in an effort to ensure individuals who were potentially exposed were made aware.
The agency says those who were at the locations listed below on March 27 during the following time periods were potentially exposed:
- Skin Clinic, Falmouth, 10:55 a.m. to 1:05 p.m.
- Maine Centers for Healthcare Endoscopy, Westbrook, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease characterized by fever; cough; runny nose; and red, watery eyes followed by a rash that spreads from the head to the trunk to the lower extremities, the agency says. It can cause severe health complications including pneumonia, encephalitis and death.
Transmission occurs when an infected person coughs or sneezes; infected people are contagious from four days before their rash starts through four days afterwards. After an infected person leaves a location, the virus remains alive for up to two hours on surfaces and in the air.
The incubation period is typically 10-14 days, but can be as long as 21 days.
People potentially exposed should review their vaccine history and monitor for symptoms. Those who have not been immunized or do not know their measles immunization status should get vaccinated with at least one dose of measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine to protect from subsequent exposures.
Those who were exposed and begin to develop symptoms should contact their health providers for instructions before arriving at the providers’ offices or hospitals, to ensure precautions are taken to prevent further infection.
If symptoms are consistent with the disease, testing may be performed to determine whether the individual is infected. Individuals without symptoms should not be tested.
"The best protection against measles is vaccination," State Epidemiologist Dr. Siiri Bennett said in a statement. "Measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine provides long-lasting protection against measles."
The last reported case of measles in Maine was in 2017 in an individual who acquired it after traveling overseas.