NH DHHS - Monitoring after Person with Measles Visits the State

Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services

(DHHS), Division of Public Health Services (DPHS) is investigating after an

international traveler, who was visiting Massachusetts and recently

traveled to New Hampshire, was subsequently found to be infected with the

measles virus. The only known public exposure site in New Hampshire was the

Flatbread Company restaurant in Portsmouth on April 20th between the hours

of approximately 3:00 PM and 6:00 PM. There are no cases identified related

to this situation, and New Hampshire is well protected from widespread

measles transmission due to a high vaccination rate in our school-aged

children, including a more than 96% measles vaccination rate in preschool

children. However, DHHS is encouraging people who were at the exposure site

during those hours to monitor themselves for symptoms. Symptoms of measles

infection usually begin with high fever, cough, runny nose, and

conjunctivitis several days prior to development of a body rash. Anybody

who feels sick should call their healthcare provider before going directly

to a healthcare facility.

“We are still in the early stages of investigating, but we do not

anticipate a large outbreak because of the high vaccination rate of people

in the State,” said Dr. Benjamin Chan, State Epidemiologist. “But it is

possible there could be cases in New Hampshire related to travel by this

individual. It is a good time for people to check their own vaccination

status if they were born in or after 1957.”

NH DHHS recommends that all people review their vaccination status with

their healthcare providers to ensure adequate immunity to measles. DHHS is

asking anybody who was at the restaurant during the above time frame, who

was born in 1957 or after, and who has not been adequately vaccinated for

measles or found to have evidence of measles immunity to contact the DHHS

Division of Public Health Services at 603-271-4496 to discuss risks of

infection and transmission of the virus.

Measles is caused by a virus that is passed from person to person through

the air when someone with the disease sneezes, coughs, or talks. It is very

easy for individuals who have not received the measles vaccine to contract

it from someone else. The measles virus can remain in the air for up to two

hours after an infected person visits and leaves and area. The above time

frame for exposure at the Portsmouth restaurant includes this two-hour

window after the infectious person left the restaurant. The incubation

period for measles from the time of exposure is typically 10 to 14 days,

but can be as long as 21 days.

For more information about measles prevention, download the DHHS Measles

Fact Sheet at http://www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/cdcs/documents/measles.pdf,

visit the DHHS Immunization Program webpage at

www.dhhs.nh.gov/immunization/index.htm, and visit the Centers for Disease

Control and Prevention website at http://www.cdc.gov/measles/index.html.