CONCORD — The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Public Health Services received a report of an international traveler visiting New Hampshire who has been diagnosed with measles, and traveled to New Hampshire when they were able to transmit the virus to others. This person traveled by bus on Feb. 26, from South Station in Boston, Massachusetts, to the Manchester Transportation Center. Any person who rode the same bus is considered exposed to measles, and any person who was present or transited through South Station in Boston, Massachusetts on Feb. 26, from 8:30 p.m. through midnight is potentially exposed.
Any individual meeting these criteria needs to urgently review their measles vaccination or immunity status. Individuals who are not vaccinated or immune, or have questions about their immunization status, are encouraged to contact DPHS as soon as possible at 603-271-4496, or 603-271-5300 after hours, and ask for the public health nurse on call. Anyone who was potentially exposed and is not immune needs immediate vaccination to help prevent development of measles.
The traveler who was diagnosed with measles boarded Boston Express Line bus #5178 on Feb. 26. This bus left Boston Logan International Airport at 9:25 p.m. with passengers, and picked up the infectious traveler and others at 10 p.m. at South Station. The bus made stops to drop off passengers in Tyngsboro, Massachusetts at 10:45 p.m., Nashua at 11 p.m., and arrived at its final destination in Manchester at 11:30 p.m. The bus was then retired and cleaned. No other public or healthcare exposures have been identified.
“Measles is a very contagious disease that can be transmitted through the air. Anybody that believes they may have been exposed on Feb. 26 at either South Station or as a passenger on the Boston Express Line bus #5178 and is not vaccinated or immune is strongly encouraged to call the NH Division of Public Health Services,” said Dr. Benjamin Chan, state epidemiologist. “For those who are able to receive the vaccine, vaccination within 72 hours of exposure can help prevent disease, but people may still benefit from vaccination even after this time period. For those who are not able to receive the vaccine due to medical reasons, there are other available treatments which can help prevent disease.”
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. The virus can remain infectious in the air for up to two hours after an infected person leaves the area. It is very easy for individuals who have not received the measles vaccine to contract it from someone else. The incubation period for measles from the time of exposure is 7 to 21 days, typically two weeks. Symptoms of measles infection usually begin with high fever, cough, runny nose, and conjunctivitis several days prior to development of a body rash. To prevent the possibility of further spreading the disease, anybody who feels sick should call their healthcare provider before going directly to a healthcare facility.
NH DHHS recommends that all people review their vaccination status with their healthcare providers to ensure adequate immunity to measles. The MMR vaccine is very effective, and more than 99% of individuals who receive two doses of the vaccine develop immunity to measles.