European tourist may have exposed people to measles in Eastern Massachusetts

A tourist from Europe may have exposed Massachusetts residents across the eastern part of the state to measles.

The state Department of Public Health and the Boston Public Health Commission confirmed the first case of the virus in the Commonwealth this year and warned that the individual was contagious while traveling in the Greater Boston area from May 1 to May 8.

The tourist rode the subway and buses, shopped and dined out in Cambridge and Boston, and visited the outlets in Wrentham and the shops at Rockport Village, according to a statement released Thursday by the state.

The virus is so contagious that if one person has it, 9 out of the 10 people around him or her will be infected if they are not protected, according to the CDC.

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State and local public health agencies are warning residents to check their immunization status for the illness and be aware of symptoms.

“Those who think they may have been exposed to measles should immediately confirm that they have had two doses of MMR vaccine or have laboratory evidence of immunity to measles,” the state health department said in a statement. “Those without immunity to measles should contact their healthcare provider to get a dose of MMR vaccine as soon as possible.”

Early symptoms of measles occur 10 to 14 days after first exposure and may resemble a cold, with a fever, runny nose, cough, and red eyes. A rash will occur two to four days after the first symptoms, starting typically on the head and moving downward, lasting a few days and the disappearing in the same order. The virus is contagious up to four days before and after the rash appears, and it can remain in the air for two hours. People who have had the illness in the past or who have been vaccinated are considered immune.

People who think they have been exposed should contact their doctor or local health department with questions or concerns.

Boston residents and exposed individuals who work or attend school in Boston should call the Boston Public Health Commission at 617-534-5611. Those outside Boston are being asked to contact the state Department of Public Health at 617-983-6800 or their local health department.

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Health officials said the tourist was in the following locations while contagious:

Sunday, May 1

10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

  • Transportation: MBTA No. 1 bus, Newbury Street, Boston, to Cambridge’s Harvard Square
  • Harvard Square: Shopped at J August, 1320 Mass. Ave.

Noon to 4 p.m.

  • CambridgeSide Galleria: Ate at Panda Express in the food court; shopped at Victoria’s Secret, Gap, Abercrombie & Fitch, PacSun; went to Starbucks
  • Transportation: Back to Boston via the MBTA’s Green Line

Monday, May 2

Noon to 6 p.m.

  • Wrentham Village Premium Outlets: Ate at Uno Chicago Grill; shopped at Nike, Gap, Polo Ralph Lauren, and others

Tuesday, May 3

11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

  • Rockport Village: Went to The Pewter Shop, Sea Star Gift Shop, and Brothers’ Brew Coffee Shop

Wednesday, May 4

About 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

  • Star Market, 53 Huntington Ave., Boston
  • Nespresso Boutique Bar, 7 Newbury St., Boston

Thursday, May 5, to Sunday May 8

  • Massachusetts General Hospital: Patients and visitors known to have potentially been exposed will be notified by the hospital or the health department.

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