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May 20, 2024

New measles case reported in Philadelphia region

Health officials warn that people at three locations, including a CVS on Bustleton Avenue, may have been exposed.

Health News Measles
Measles outbreak Zach Tuggle/News Journal

People are considered immune to measles if they have received two doses of the MMR vaccine, previously had virus or were born before 1957.

A new measles case has been confirmed in the wider Philadelphia area.

Health officials have offered few details on the case but have identified three possible points of exposure in Northeast Philly and Montgomery County. The Department of Public Health is warning anyone who visited the CVS on 10901C Bustleton Ave. on Wednesday, May 15, between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. or the Holy Redeemer Hospital emergency department in Meadowbrook between 11:30 a.m. Thursday, May 16, and 12:30 a.m. Friday, May 17, of possible exposure. Anyone who visited the Holy Redeemer Hospital's medical-surgical unit between 10:30 p.m. Thursday, May 16, and 12:30 p.m. Friday, May 17, could also be at risk.

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Potential exposure does not guarantee illness. Those who already received two doses of the measles vaccine — usually administered to children as the measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine — or have already had measles do not need to take action. Anyone born before 1957 is also generally considered immune to the virus. But health officials are urging anyone who is not protected to get vaccinated. Children who are too young for the vaccine, as well as pregnant or immunocompromised people, should contact their doctor as soon as possible.

Measles typically presents as a rash and is considered contagious four days before and four days after red spots appear. Anyone who is not vaccinated or immune and may have been exposed should wear a mask in indoor public spaces and around anyone who is unvaccinated until three weeks after the exposure to prevent the spread, health officials say. Those planning to travel outside the United States should also consult their doctor about a possible booster.

"We believe there is no threat to the general public associated with this case of measles," Dr. Debra Bogen, Pennsylvania's acting secretary of health, said in a statement. "We encourage people who were possibly exposed to take action if they are not protected against measles."

Philadelphia's last measles outbreak occurred from December 2023 to early January 2024, originating at a Children's Hospital of Philadelphia facility. Nine mostly unvaccinated people caught the virus, and seven were hospitalized. 

Early signs of measles include a fever, cough, runny nose and puffy, red eyes. Anyone who was exposed and develops these symptoms should contact their health care provider and local health department.

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