ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The New York State Department of Health was notified on Friday of a positive case of measles at Bard College in Dutchess County.
The DOH was informed the patient traveled on an Amtrak train, so exposure to the public may have occurred beyond the college campus. Anyone who traveled on Amtrack train #283 from Penn Station in New York City to Albany on January 25, and who is not immune to measles or unsure of their measles immunity, should contact their primary care physician if they become ill with fever.
In order to prevent the spread of illness, the DOH is advising anyone who may have been exposed and who may have symptoms consistent with measles to call their health care providers or a local emergency room before going for care.
Bard College notified the campus community of the measles case, and the Dutchess County DOH held a measles vaccination clinic on Friday for any students, faculty or staff who had not been vaccinated.
Measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by a virus and is spread by contact with nasal or throat secretion of infected people, according to the DOH. Measles can lead to serious side effects and death in rare cases. Symptoms usually appear in ten to 12 days but can occur as late as 18 days after exposure.
Individuals are not at risk of contracting measles if they are immune. A person is considered immune if: (1) they received two doses of the Measles, Mumps and Rubella vaccine; (2) if they were born before January 1, 1957; (3) have a history of laboratory-confirmed measles; or (4) have a blood test confirming immunity.
The DOH said symptoms generally appear in two stages.
The first stage lasts two to four days and may consist of a runny nose, cough, slight fever, reddened eyes, and sensitivity to light. A fever gradually rises each day and may peak at 103 to 105 degrees Fahrenheit. Small bluish white spots surrounded by a reddish area may also appear on the gums and inside of the cheeks.
The second stage begins on the third to seventh day and consists of a red, blotchy rash lasting five to six days. The rash usually begins on the face and then spreads downward and outward toward the hands and feet. The rash fades in the same order it appeared.
Although measles is considered a childhood disease, it can be contracted at any age.
The DOH said the best way to prevent measles is to be vaccinated. Anyone who is not immune to measles should receive two doses of the MMR vaccinate at least 28 days apart.
New York State has had three cases of measles this year, according to the DOH – one in Dutchess County and two in New York City.
More information can be found on the NYS DOH websites, here.