SOMERSET COUNTY, Maine — The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed a case of measles in Maine on May 20 -- the first since 2017.
The CDC sent out the notice on Tuesday, May 21. The case involves a school-aged child from Somerset County who is vaccinated, did not have any serious complications, and is fully recovered from the disease at this point.
Madison Junior High School principal Ryan Arnold confirmed the child is a student at his school.
“I would say we haven’t really taken any precautions," said Arnold of the school's response.
He's calling it "business at usual," even after one of his students was confirmed to have contracted the disease.
“Just like any other day, we encourage kids to drink lots of water, get plenty of rest, wash their hands, [and] cough in their sleeves," said Arnold. "If they’re sick, stay home.”
He isn’t more concerned because the student who had the measles has recovered and has already returned back to school.
Arnold said he hasn’t even fielded any phone calls from concerned parents since news of the disease spread.
"The student was out of the incubation period when they returned to school," said RSU 59 District School Nurse Monica Beach.
The CDC has since notified all facilities where potential exposure to the contagious disease may have happened. They are working with these facilities to make sure any individuals potentially exposed to the disease are aware of the risk.
Individuals at these locations on these dates and at these times could have been exposed to measles:
- Madison Junior High School from 7 a.m.-5 p.m. on Tuesday, April 30; Wednesday, May 1; Thursday, May 2; Friday, May 3
- Madison Junior High School’s Baseball Field from 2:30-7 p.m. on Thursday, May 2
- Madison Junior High School’s Baseball Field from 7 a.m.-12 p.m. on Saturday, May 4
- Madison Area Memorial High School from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. on Tuesday, April 30; Wednesday, May 1; Friday, May 3
- Waterville Pediatrics from 7:50-10:15 a.m. on Thursday, May 2
- Redington Fairview Emergency Department from 9:30 p.m.-midnight on Saturday, May 4
- Redington Fairview Emergency Department from 12:01 a.m.-2:15 a.m. on Sunday, May 5
- Redington Fairview Emergency Department from 2:25-5:25 p.m. on Monday, May 6
Beach said the percent of students who aren't immunized in her district is so low, it's below 1 percent.
"The student, who was immunized, was able to have a milder form of the measles," added Beach.
It is possible to contract measles, despite being vaccinated because no vaccine is 100 percent effective, according to Beach and Dr. James Jarvis.
“If you don’t have 100 percent immunity, there’s always that small chance that you can contract the disease, despite having adequate vaccination," said Dr. Jarvis, the Senior Vice President and Senior Physician Executive at Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center.
Given this one case of measles in its county, school officials in Somerset County are asking for everyone to do themselves a favor.
"Take every precaution to stay healthy," said Beach.
Anyone who may have been exposed to measles should review their vaccine history and monitor for symptoms, which include:
- runny nose
- red, water eyes
- rash that spreads from the head to the trunk to the lower extremities
Measles can cause severe health complications, including pneumonia, brain swelling, and death. The disease is transmitted when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Infected people are contagious from four days before their rash starts to four days afterwards.
The virus can remain alive for up to two hours on surfaces and in the air. The incubation period is usually 10 to 14 days, but it can be as long as 21 days.
The CDC says that anyone who is not immunized or does not know their measles immunization status should get vaccinated with "at least one dose of measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine to protect from subsequent exposures."
As of today, 880 cases of measles have been confirmed in 24 states.
The last reported case of measles in Maine was in 2017 when an individual acquired the disease after traveling overseas.
The Maine CDC was also notified by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health on April 1 of a confirmed case of measles in a Massachusetts resident who had visited two businesses in Maine.
As of May 22, there have been no additional reported cases of measles linked to this case in the state.
For more information about measles from the Maine CDC, click here.