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Beverly nurse notified of confirmed measles case at ACT test site

Posted by Terri Ogan  May 2, 2013 01:53 PM

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A nurse in the Beverly school system received notification about a week ago from the Department of Public Health that a person who attended the ACT test on Saturday April 13 at Beverly High School had a confirmed case of measles.

Cathy Riccio, nurse leader for Beverly public schools, said she cannot confirm whether or not the infected person is a student from the high school.

Riccio said that no other cases have been reported and the disease has been contained.

Nearly 300 people were on the high school property and have since been notified through a letter from Riccio, as well as a measles alert from the Department of Public Health.

"It’s one of those things you want to clamp down," Riccio said. "Since it was a Saturday and it was for testing and for athletic teams, we were able to identify rapidly who was in the building."

According to Riccio, a total of 21 staff members, 95 Beverly High School students, 167 students from the surrounding area and 61 other Beverly students were on the premises the same day as the infected person.

The students from surrounding towns were sent letters as well.

Luckily, Riccio said, all Beverly High School students were up-to-date with their immunization, therefore were not labeled as "susceptibles."

Others were urged to check their medical history, or get in contact with a medical provider to get the proper immunization.

Because measles can look like other diseases that cause a rash, the only sure way to know if a person has measles is to get a blood test, according to information from the Department of Public Health.

People with measles are infectious for four days prior to the rash onset, until four days after the onset. If someone is susceptible to measles they will usually show symptoms 10 to 14 days after exposure.

Since Riccio sent out the measles notification letter, she said she has received calls from concerned parents, due to an alarming Facebook post. Although she could not comment on the name, Riccio said a local doctor's office posted a comment on Facebook with incorrect information saying that there was a measles exposure at the high school.

"What they were trying to do was encourage vaccination," Riccio said. "Which is exactly what I want to encourage people to do."

The Department of Public Health is currently conducting an epidemiological investigation, according to Anne Roach, a spokesperson from the agency.

As it is ongoing, no further details are available, but Roach added that there have been about 20 confirmed measles cases in Massachusetts in the last two years.

Riccio said that this is the first measles case in Beverly this year, and she doesn't see it as a concern right now.

Terri Ogan can be reached at, or follow her on Twitter.

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