BOSTON (CBS) – The Massachusetts Department of Health has a simple message for residents about measles – get vaccinated.
In a statement this week, the department says there are more than 700 cases of measles across 22 states in 2019. There were only 372 cases reported in all of 2018.
In Massachusetts, there have been over 60 suspected cases of measles, with one confirmed this year. Last year there were only 21 suspect cases, and none confirmed to be measles.
“Every day, Massachusetts residents travel to places where measles is occurring and every day visitors arrive here from places where measles is occurring,” said Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel in a statement. “Every time there is a confirmed case of measles, hundreds of people may be exposed.”
People who were born before 1957 or have already had measles are likely safe. But others should take precautions.
“I urge all Massachusetts residents to take this health outbreak seriously,” Bharel said. “Make sure you have evidence of immunity to measles. If you don’t, you should get vaccinated.”
Measles is very contagious and symptoms can occur 10 days to 2 weeks after exposure.