The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention has been notified of the potential for measles exposure in southern Maine.

Maine CDC was contacted by the Quebec Ministry of Health and Social Services on July 21 and informed that a Quebec resident who recently traveled to the Old Orchard Beach and Saco areas has been diagnosed with measles. Quebec has been experiencing an increase in measles cases recently and the ill Quebec resident had not been vaccinated against the disease.

Measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by a virus. Symptoms usually begin one to two weeks after exposure and include high fever, cough, runny nose, watery eyes, and a rash. An individual infected with measles can transmit the virus to others who are not immune from four days before their symptoms start until four days after the rash resolves. The virus is spread through the air by breathing, coughing or sneezing.

The Quebec native diagnosed with measles was vacationing in southern Maine from July 15-18.

“If you or your children are at risk for measles and become ill with the symptoms of this disease, you should tell your health care provider so that precautions can be taken to avoid exposing anyone else,” said Dr. Stephen Sears, State Epidemiologist, in a news release. “If you or your family members are not up to date with vaccine or you have questions about whether you are immune, you should contact your healthcare provider.”

Most people in the United States and in Maine have been vaccinated and are immune to measles. The MMR vaccine is routinely given to toddlers when they are 12 to 15 months of age and a second dose is required for all Maine school children. Persons who are at risk for the disease include infants less than age 1 and persons born after 1957 who have not received two doses of MMR vaccine.

Health care providers who treat patients with suspected cases of measles should call the Maine CDC at 1-800-821-5821 for consultation and to arrange testing.