The Maine Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was notified Tuesday by Massachusetts public health authorities that a student in Massachusetts who tested positive for measles visited the Kittery Outlet Malls on April 20 while infected by the virus.
The individual who is from Western Europe and was unvaccinated, shopped at the malls between noon and 3 p.m. and stopped in stores including but not limited to: The Kittery Trading Post, Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren and J. Crew.
“Since measles is a contagious airborne disease people who were at the Kittery malls from noon to 5 p.m. on April 20 should check their immunization records and be aware of the symptoms,” said Dr. Christopher Pezzullo, Acting Chief Health Officer of the Maine Department of Health and Human Services.
People who are vaccinated are unlikely to be affected by exposure. Symptoms include fever, cough, runny nose and red, watery eyes. Three to five days after symptoms begin, a rash breaks out. It usually begins as flat red spots that appear on the face at the hairline and spreads downward.
“Infected people are contagious from four days before their rash starts through four days after,” Pezzullo said. “As the exposure took place nine days ago, early treatments for those who may have been impacted is not effective. We recommend that a person with symptoms contact their primary care provider by phone to discuss treatment, as isolation to prevent the spread of measles may be necessary.”
Maine’s last case of measles was reported in 1997, and there are currently no cases of measles in Maine.
Pezzullo said that since Maine has a high vaccination rate against measles, a widespread outbreak is unlikely. This event serves as a strong reminder of the importance of vaccination against the disease, he said.
“Most measles cases in this country have been among unvaccinated people and people with unknown vaccination status,” Pezzullo said. “This incident offers an opportunity to encourage people to know their vaccination status and to get vaccinated if necessary.”