SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A highly infectious, potentially deadly disease that’s rare nowadays in the United States, has surfaced in Springfield. There’s a case of measles at Bay State Medical Center.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, only 60 cases of measles are reported in the U.S. each year, but Bay State says hundreds could have been in contact with it at the hospital on April 2 or 3.
“With all the vaccines I think most people have been vaccinated and like I said you don’t know who has what. It can be anywhere and when you’re at the hospital, you have to expect that people are there because they’re sick,” said Kathy Rondinelli of West Springfield.
Measles is a virus that causes a respiratory disease by the same name. It causes a fever, runny nose, cough, a body rash and white spots inside the mouth and it’s 100 percent preventable with a vaccine.
Baystate Medical Center spokesman Benjamin Craft told 22News they’re trying to get in touch with the close to 300 people who might have been in contact with the patient and don’t know it yet. That’s because the symptoms can begin up to two weeks after a person is infected.
Craft told 22News even those who weren’t vaccinated could still get the vaccine days after they were infected, and avoid the full effects of the disease. He said like many of the few measles cases in the U.S., the person with it, had recently traveled overseas.
“I would hope that more people are vaccinated and it wouldn’t be a problem. It’s something that can be easily preventable,” Judy Hogan of West Springfield told 22News.
If they weren’t vaccinated, those born before 1957, or had measles before, are considered immune.
Bay State Medical Center said they have the names of everyone at-risk. They’re using this case as a way to make people aware of the importance of vaccinations to prevent the spread of otherwise dangerous diseases.
Measles is out in the community now, so if you believe you have symptoms of the disease, you’re asked to call the doctor before going into the office and potentially infected others.