Boston Resident Has Measles, Warning Issued for Possible Exposure in South End, Fenway, Back Bay

It's the first case of measles in a Boston resident since 2013, and those exposed without full vaccinations may be infected as well

A person in Boston has a confirmed case of measles, city health officials announced Wednesday, warning that others at five locations in the South End, Fenway and Back Bay may have been exposed in the last week, potentially making them susceptible to the virus.

The measles case is the city's first in a resident since 2013 and Massachusetts' third this year, officials said. It was confirmed in the Boston resident on Sunday, the Boston Public Health Commission announced. 

The person with the virus may have exposed others, according to the commission. Exposures may have taken place at 

  • Friday, Oct. 4, 1:30 to 4:30 p.m.: Render Coffee, 563 Columbus Avenue, South End
  • Friday, Oct. 4, 2:30 to 4:45 p.m.: Cafe Madeleine, 517 Columbus Avenue, South End
  • Friday, Oct. 4 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.: Gyroscope, 305 Huntington Avenue, Fenway
  • Saturday, Oct. 5, 11:30 a.m. to 1:35 p.m.: CouCou, 24 Union Park Street, South End
  • Saturday, Oct. 5, 12 to 2:15 p.m., Sir Speedy, 827 Boylston Street, Back Bay

"BPHC urges anyone who does not know their measles immunization status to get vaccinated with at least one dose of the Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) vaccine. Those who have had measles in the past or have received two doses of measles containing vaccine are unlikely to become ill even if exposed," the commission wrote.

Anyone susceptible to measles who was exposed at the prior locations may become ill Oct. 25-26, after the standard incubation period. Signs of the virus are fever, runny nose and a rash, and it is transmitted through the air, which makes it important to track locations where someone with measles has traveled.

"We own a children's store. Lots of little kids are in here, as well as adults, so I feel responsible to try and reach out to as many people as I can," said CouCou owner Astrid Motsenigos.

Anyone who believes they might have been exposed and isn't sure of their vaccination status should see a doctor, officials said.

Getting two doses of the measles vaccines is 97% effective at stopping someone from contracting the virus. Anyone who already had it can't get it again.

The virus was once considered eradicated, but it's been spreading across the United States — about 1,200 cases have been diagnosed in the country this year, largely among religious groups that oppose vaccines, though a fringe movement also claims they cause maladies against the vast majority of medical expertise.

"I understand people have different concerns about vaccinations, but the risk of vaccinations is very low compared to the general benefit. Measles can kill you," said Dr. Jennifer Lo, medical director of the Boston Public Health Commission, at a news conference Wednesday.

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