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Public Exposures to Measles in Framingham and Wellesley, Massachusetts


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2/26/2014
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Two measles cases were confirmed this week in Massachusetts, with exposures to citizens at three public places in Framingham and one in Wellesley.

Two cases of measles were confirmed on February 21, 2014 in Massachusetts. Public exposure to the virus is reported in Framingham at Trader Joe's, at Bose Corporation headquarters, and at Samba Steak & Sushi restaurant all during the weekend of February 15 & 16, 2014. Public exposure to the virus is reported in Wellesley at Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates on Monday, February 17. 

Measles is highly contagious, and afflicts in recent years only as many as 61 people in the US in 2010, 220 in 2011, 54 in 2012, 159 in 2013, and 24 cases already in 2014. Almost all of the confirmed cases are shown to have contracted the disease in foreign countries while traveling. Measles is most dangerous to children under 5, adults over 20, pregnant women, and those with weakened immune systems.

Measles often causes pneumonia, and sometimes (less often) deafness, blindness, and rarely, death.

A local outbreak of this disease is highly unusual but has occurred this month, with confirmation of cases coming only this week, in Framingham, Massachusetts, the town where my law office, Keefe Disability Law, is located, and in nearby Wellesley. The location of the outbreak is identified by the public health authorities as:

1. Trader Joe's grocery store on Route 9 in the middle of Framingham, where all shoppers and employees at the store on Saturday February 15, or Sunday February 16 have been warned by public health authorities that they may have been exposed to the virus.

2. Bose Corp headquarters in an office park at the west end of Framingham, where a resident of Spencer, Massachusetts, who works at Bose, has contracted measles.  Bose makes “Wave music system” CD players, and “Soundlink” wireless Bluetooth speakers. The Bose headquarters is considered by public health officials to be an “exposure location”.

3. Samba Steak & Sushi restaurant located in Framingham, where all patrons and employees at the store between 5:30PM and 9:00 PM Saturday, February 15, have been warned by public health authorities that they may have been exposed to the virus.

4. Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates in Wellesley where employees and visitors to the clinic may have been exposed to the virus on Monday, February 17, when a patient with a now confirmed case of measles visited the clinic complaining of flu symptoms. 

Measles is considered “eliminated” in the United States, meaning that “continuous disease transmission” has been halted for over 12 months. Around the world however, measles is far from eliminated. In fact, according to the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 430 children die from measles worldwide every single day. CDC reports worldwide deaths from measles in 2011 at 158,000.  

Routine vaccination for measles began in 1963 and the MMR vaccine began in 1973. Before routine vaccinations began, there were 500,000 cases of measles per year in the US, with deaths exceeding 450 annually.  For information about other recent outbreaks in the US, and around the world, see an About.com report by Dr. Vincent Iannelli.

Measles can be spread to others from four days before to four days after the rash appears. One of the most contagious diseases known, transmission is spread from person to person by large respiratory droplets but can also be spread by the airborne route as “aerosolized droplet nuclei”. Treatment is by administration of Vitamin A.

Dr. Samuel Katz, a retired Professor at Duke University, was involved in creating the vaccine used for measles, with vaccination beginning nearly 50 years ago. Since 2001 over 1.1 billion children have been vaccinated worldwide, and the CDC reports that measles vaccinations during that time have averted 10 million deaths.  

Measles is caused by a virus, and when you have a case of measles it usually feels like a cold or the flu at first, then advances to a rash, red with blotches, beginning on your face and then all over your body. Measles often leads to pneumonia. Less often the disease leads to deafness, blindness, seizure disorders, swelling of the brain, even death.

Most people in Massachusetts (where imunization rates are high) are immune to measles due to having received vaccination as a child, being born before 1957, or contracting the disease as a child. 

If you think you may have been exposed to measles or any other highly contagious disease, call your doctor right away. Vaccination within 72 hours of exposure is said to be possibly effective. Also, you can call the Board of Health in your city or town.  

More information about measles, visit the Massachusetts Department of Public Health's website factsheet

If you have a chronic disease such as diabetes or arthritis, your medical condition by itself, or combined with other problems, may prevent you from holding or keeping a full time job. If you are unable to work due to a physical or mental condition, Keefe Disability Law is here to help with any claims for Social Security disability benefits. Call today to speak with a claim representative and we will provide a free case evaluation to see how our legal team can help with your disability case - 800 776 2929.



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John L. Keefe
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Founding Attorney of Keefe Disability Law

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