Tourists from Europe who are suffering from measles may have exposed people in Bay State to the virus, especially on buses, the Cambridgeside Galleria, the Pru, several stores in Rockport and the Wrentham Outlets, Boston health officials said Thursday.

Authorities confirmed in a statement the first case of measles in the Commonwealth so far this year, detected in someone who recently visited Massachusetts from Europe.

People from Bay State may have been infected with measles due to European tourists. Credit: NBC News

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Boston Public Health Commission said the first measles patient reported this year has an unknown vaccination history, according to a report by the Boston Herald.

“There have been potential exposures over the past week in the greater Boston area… from May 1–8, 2016. MDPH and BPHC recommend that those potentially exposed call their healthcare providers or the health department with questions or concerns,” health officials said.

Visitors and patients who were treated at Massachusetts General Hospital from May 5 through Sunday May 8 may have been at risk. The health department will notify those believed to have been exposed to the virus.

What to do in case of exposure

Dr. Monica Bharel, Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, said people who think they might have been exposed to measles should immediately call their doctor before rushing for a medical appointment. The idea is to keep calm and make sure they can be examined without exposing others to the virus, which causes fever, cold symptoms and rash.

Those who have been exposed to measles must stay alert for 21 days after exposure to monitor cold-like symptoms and a rash, she added, noting that there are high rates of MMR vaccination in Massachusetts.

The most affected group is comprised of young children, pregnant women and people who have a weakened immune system. They should contact their doctor as soon as possible.

Health officials informed in the statement that initial symptoms begin to appear 10 days to 2 weeks after exposure to the virus and include cough, red eyes and runny nose. A rash, which appears first on the head, usually occurs up to 4 days after the early, cold-like symptoms develop.

Measles patients may be contagious until the fourth day before and during four days after they see the rash on their skin. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) consider as immune all those people who have been vaccinated against the virus or who have contracted the virus in the past.

Source: Boston Herald