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Measles Outbreak Over But Shots Still Recommended

August 17, 2006

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health confirmed that the state's first measles outbreak in 17 years has officially ended.

In all, 18 Boston-area residents became sick with measles between May 5 and June 24.  Most were in their 20s and 30s.  The outbreak was declared over after two successive incubation periods passed without a new infection.  The incubation period for measles is 18 days.

The outbreak highlighted the fact that many Boston area residents may not be adequately immunized against measles.  The Cambridge Public Health Department encourages residents to check their immunization records or talk with their health care provider to find out if they are protected from the disease.

Some guidelines on the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health:

  • Children who are 12 months or older are encouraged to get their first dose of MMR vaccine as soon as possible.
  • Anyone bornin the year 1957 or after should have 2 doses of MMR vaccine.
  • Anyone born outside the U.S. before 1957 should have 1 dose of MMR vaccine.
  • Health care workers (including those born in the U.S.) born before 1957 should have 1 dose of MMR vaccine.
  • Individuals born in the U.S. before 1957 are usually considered immune to measles, but they may wish to receive 1 dose of MMR vaccine to increase the likelihood of protection against measles.

If you believe you should receive a measles shot—or if you are not sure if you have had the vaccine—please call your doctor.

For more information, see the measles section on the Cambridge Public Health Department website, www.cambridgepublichealth.org.


Suzy Feinberg, MPH
Public Information Officer

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