Four new cases of measles reported
Four new cases of measles have been confirmed in the Boston area since May 12, bringing the state total to 10 cases this month and 15 this year.
A Northeastern University student was confirmed as having measles Thursday, according to the Boston Public Health Commission. And two measles cases were found in elementary school students at a Brookline public school.
The Driscoll School students are related, and neither had been vaccinated against measles for religious reasons, Brookline Health Department director, Alan Balsam, said yesterday. One child was hospitalized, and the other developed a milder case. Both are recovering from the virus, but are still out of school.
So far, state Department of Public Health officials said they have not found that the cases this month are linked. A cluster of cases in February was linked to a man in an apartment building in the Back Bay area.
Balsam said the Brookline elementary school took several precautions this week, sending an e-mail alert to parents Wednesday and setting up a clinic at the school to immunize staff members. About 20 to 25 teachers and other faculty members were vaccinated.
About two or three students in the elementary school who had not been vaccinated were asked to stay home for several days, also as a precaution, Balsam said.
“Seeing measles in Brookline is relatively rare,’’ he said. An adult had a confirmed case a few weeks ago, which was not linked to the children’s, he said, but the town can go for several years without seeing any cases.
Brookline schools sent notices to parents of the Driscoll School, which is near Washington Square, earlier this week that two children had become ill with the measles, said Fran Rota, copresident of the school’s Parent Teacher Organization.
Rota, who has one child in the school, said she is not worried about the cases, because her child has been immunized, as have most children at the school.
“Everyone’s aware of it,’’ Rota said of other parents with children in the school. “Nobody seems that worried about it.’’
Public health officials speculate that the uptick could be coming from Europe, especially France, which has experienced large outbreaks in recent years, probably due to lower immunization rates.
While most young people in the United States have been vaccinated, middle-aged adults who may have received less-potent shots and those not up to date on their immunizations may be susceptible to the measles virus, which is extemely contagious. Officials urge people who have been in contact with a measles patient to see a doctor if they develop early symptoms such as malaise and a cough.
Deborah Kotz can be reached at email@example.com.