State Health Department Confirms Measles Case in Capital Region

People Who Visited Specific Sites in Rensselaer and Albany Counties May Have Been Exposed; Preventive Treatment May Be Warranted

ALBANY, N.Y. (May 17, 2011) -- The New York State Department of Health (DOH) reported today that measles has been confirmed in a student at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), and exposures of members of the public may have occurred in a number of different settings beyond the college campus.

Anyone who was a patient or accompanied a patient to either of the following hospital emergency departments at the times listed and is not immune to measles (see criteria below), or is in a high risk group that includes those who are pregnant, immunocompromised, or under 12 months of age, may be a candidate to receive preventive treatment:

  • Samaritan Hospital Emergency Department, Troy, NY (Rensselaer County), May 12, 2011 from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. and May 13, 2011 from 7:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.
  • Albany Medical Center Hospital Emergency Department, Albany, NY (Albany County), May 13, 2011, 8:40 p.m. until May 14, 2011 6:00 a.m.

Individuals who were at one of the above facilities during the timeframes listed should contact that hospital or the county health department immediately to determine if they should get treatment. Preventive treatment MUST be given within six (6) days of the exposure.

  • Samaritan Hospital: 518-271-3708 (before 4 p.m.); 518-271-3424 (after 4 p.m.)
  • Albany Medical Center Hospital: 518-262-8888
  • Rensselaer County Department of Health: 518-270-2655
  • Albany County Department of Health: 518-447-4640

In addition, local residents could have been exposed to measles if they visited the following locations on the dates and times listed below:

  • RPI Campus, Troy, NY from May 8th – May 16th
  • Uncle Sam's Health Food Store, Route 9, Latham, NY (Albany County) on May 12th between noon and 4 p.m.
  • Rite Aid Pharmacy, Burdett Avenue, Troy, NY on May 12 th between 8:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.

Anyone who was at these locations during these times should contact the local (county) health department where they reside to determine if they are a candidate to receive preventive treatment.

Individuals are not at risk of contracting measles if they are immune. A person is considered immune if they were born before January 1, 1957, OR have a history of physician-diagnosed measles, OR have a blood test confirming immunity, OR have received two doses of the MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella) vaccine.

In order to prevent the spread of illness, the state and local health departments are also advising individuals who may have been exposed and who have symptoms consistent with measles to call their health care providers or a local emergency room BEFORE going for care. This will help to prevent others at these facilities from being exposed to the illness.

Measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by a virus and is spread by contact with nasal or throat secretions of infected people. Measles can lead to serious side effects and, in rare cases death. Measles symptoms usually appear in 10 to 12 days, but can occur as late as 18 days after exposure. Symptoms generally appear in two stages.

In the first stage, which lasts two to four days, the individual may have a runny nose, cough and a slight fever. Eyes may become reddened and sensitive to light while the fever gradually rises each day, often peaking as high as 103° to 105° F. 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, reaching the hands and feet. The rash fades in the same order that it appeared, from head to extremities. Although measles is usually considered a childhood disease, it can be contracted at any age.

The single best way to prevent measles is to be vaccinated. Most New Yorkers have been vaccinated but if unsure, they should check with their physician. Individuals should receive 2 doses of MMR vaccine to be protected. The first dose should be at 12-15 months of age and the second dose should be given at 4 to 6 years of age (age of school entry). Unvaccinated individuals who are older than 6 years can also be vaccinated.