SPRINGFIELD- Baystate Medical Center is informing the community that a patient at the hospital has a confirmed case of measles.
The safety of our patients and visitors is our absolute highest priority. Measles is a contagious illness, and people without immunity who were in proximity to the patient at Baystate Medical Center’s main campus on April 2nd or April 3rd may be at risk for developing measles. Baystate has been working to identify and contact all individuals who, due to their proximity to the patient in a limited number of areas within the hospital before the measles diagnosis was made and protective steps were taken, may be at elevated risk for exposure to measles.
Because the suspected diagnosis of measles was made quickly after the patient was initially seen, Baystate believes that the group of people potentially exposed to measles at the hospital is limited to about 300 individuals. In partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and those individuals’ primary care providers, Baystate is making direct notifications to those determined to be at elevated risk, and working closely with primary care providers to ensure patients get what they need, including information, immunizations or other preventive treatment where appropriate.
People with the potential for exposure are being asked to be watchful for symptoms of measles, and should call their healthcare provider, if they develop symptoms, before visiting a healthcare facility. Visiting a healthcare facility with symptoms of measles puts others at risk.
Symptoms of measles occur 10 days to two weeks after exposure and may resemble a cold (with fever, cough, runny nose, and red eyes), but a rash occurs on the skin 2-4 days after the initial symptoms develop. The rash usually appears first on the head and moves downward. The rash typically lasts a few days and then disappears in the same order. People with measles may be contagious up to four days before the rash appears and for four days after the day the rash appears.
“We’re sharing this message widely with the community because we want people to be aware and informed, and we want to take the highest level of precautions to prevent the spread of the illness,” said Dr. Douglas Salvador, vice president of Medical Affairs for Baystate Medical Center. “Most people are immune or have been vaccinated, but given that measles is now present in our community, we encourage anyone with concerns to check into their vaccinations and immunity to measles, and be on the lookout for symptoms.”
Now that the patient has been identified and is being cared for, that patient does not pose any additional measles risk to others.
People who were born before 1957, have had measles in the past or who have been vaccinated against measles per Centers for Disease Control recommendations are considered immune. The CDC recommendations are:
Children. Children should receive their first dose of Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR) vaccine at 12-15 months. School-aged children need two doses of MMR vaccine.
Adults. Adults should have at least one dose of MMR vaccine. Certain groups at high risk need two doses of MMR, such as international travelers, health care workers, and college students. Adults born in the U.S. before 1957 are considered to be immune to measles from past exposures.
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health produced the following fact sheet on measles: http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/docs/dph/cdc/factsheets/measles.pdf. Anyone with concerns should call their healthcare provider.