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Unvaccinated child isolated with measles

An unvaccinated child visiting Martha’s Vineyard from out of state was diagnosed with measles last week, public health officials on the island said Monday.

It marks the second case of measles in Massachusetts this year, according to state health authorities.

For a period of nine days — June 8 to Wednesday — the child visited public venues in West Tisbury and Oak Bluffs, possibly exposing people on the island to the virus.

Marina Lent, of the Chilmark Board of Health, said the child remained in isolation Monday afternoon to guard against further exposure.

Martha’s Vineyard Hospital officials said in a statement that “the child was immediately identified and subsequently isolated from the community.”


The child, whose age authorities did not release because of patient confidentiality rules, was evaluated and diagnosed with the illness at the hospital.

The Martha’s Vineyard Boards of Health have listed the following times when the child may have exposed others to the viral illness, although there may have been other episodes of exposure:

■  11 a.m. to 3 p.m. June 8: West Tisbury Public Library.

■  3 to 5:30 p.m. June 9, and 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. June 11: Aquinnah Library.

■  1 to 5 p.m. June 12: Martha’s Vineyard Airport Laundromat in West Tisbury.

■   7:30 to 10:30 p.m. June 16: Sharky’s Cantina in Oak Bluffs.

■   5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. June 16: Ryan Family Amusements in Oak Bluffs.

Those times include two hours after the child left because measles can linger in the air that long after an infected person has departed.

Dr. Monica Bharel, the state’s public health commissioner, said in a statement that an outbreak of measles in Massachusetts is unlikely because of the high rates of immunization among students.

But elementary schools in West Tisbury, one of the towns the child visited, had one of the lowest vaccination rates among the state’s elementary schools, according to data from the Department of Public Health for 2013-14.


Martha’s Vineyard Hospital has scheduled a measles immunization clinic from 5 to 9 p.m. Wednesday in the doctor’s wing of the old hospital. There is no charge.

The state urges all those who are not sure of their measles immunization status to get inoculated with at least one dose of the measles vaccine.

Early symptoms of the virus occur 10 days to two weeks after exposure and include high fever, cough, and runny nose. A rash, which develops on the skin two to four days after the initial symptoms, usually appears first on the head and moves downward.

Those showing measles symptoms are advised to call their health care provider, the state Department of Public Health, or the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital measles hot line 508-957-0117 before going to a medical facility.

Virgie Hoban can be reached at virgie.hoban@globe.com.