Third case of measles confirmed in Maryland; health officials warn of possible exposure in Pikesville

A third case of measles has been confirmed in Maryland, the state Department of Health announced Wednesday.

The health department warned that people who visited three locations in Pikesville on Sunday might have been exposed to the contagious disease:

» 4000 Old Court Road — an office building with doctors offices — from 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.;

» Market Maven grocery store at 1630 Reisterstown Road from 11:45 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.;

» Seven Mile Market, another grocery at 201 Reisterstown Road, from 12:45 p.m. to 3:15 p.m.

People who could have been exposed at other locations are being notified directly by the health department.

The case marks the third person in Maryland diagnosed with measles in less than two weeks. The first case was confirmed April 5, and a second case in Maryland was confirmed Tuesday. The first two people diagnosed live in the same household; the third person does not.

The diagnoses come as measles is spreading nationwide. As of April 11, 555 measles cases were confirmed in 20 states this year, marking the second highest number of cases in the country since the disease was deemed effectively eliminated in 2000, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Frances B. Phillips, the state’s deputy secretary for public health, said in a statement that the health department is asking Marylanders to ensure their families are up to date on vaccinations against measles and other preventable diseases.

“It is concerning that three cases of measles have been identified in Maryland in such a short period of time,” Phillips said in a statement. “The measles virus can spread very easily between unvaccinated people, and there have been large outbreaks in several other areas of the country. Vaccination is the best way to stop additional infections.”

Hershel Boehm, who owns Seven Mile Market, one of the possible exposure points, said state health officials contacted the kosher grocery store to warn its owners that customers and others could have been exposed to measles at the store Sunday. The store posted signs letting customers know about the possible risk of exposure, he said.

The store is not taking any other preventative actions to prevent the spread of measles, Boehm said.

He recalled people getting measles frequently when he was a child, but said he is concerned about the spread of the disease among people who are not vaccinated now.

“It’s maybe one in 1,000 or one out of a few thousand that have a bad reaction to it, but that’s one too many,” he said.

Boehm said the rabbi at his synagogue has spoken forcefully about the need for congregants to get vaccinated. Rabbis in the Baltimore area have banded together to encourage vaccination after other outbreaks have occurred in orthodox Jewish communities in areas that include New York and New Jersey.

“All three cases are of concern, particularly with the amount of travel that will go on now with the Passover holiday,” said Howard Libit, executive director of the Baltimore Jewish Council. “People, young families with kids who are too young to be fully vaccinated — that’s where the big concern is.”

A manager reached at Market Maven, another possible exposure site, declined to comment.

The first case in Maryland this year prompted Sinai Hospital of Baltimore to stop accepting children under age 13 without appointments to help prevent the spread of the disease.

Initial measles symptoms include a fever of 101 degrees or higher, runny nose, cough and red, watery eyes, and symptoms typically appear 10-14 days after a person is exposed.

People who are infected can be contagious for four days before the distinctive rash appears and for four days afterward.

Receiving two measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccines immunizes patients against the vast majority of measles cases.

Bais Yaakov School for Girls hosted a vaccine clinic Wednesday to target adults from ages 30 to 62 who had not received their two measles vaccines. That clinic followed another held Friday at the Shomrei Emunah synagogue on Greenspring Avenue in Baltimore.

Although the possible exposures to measles patients occurred in public locations in Pikesville, it’s unclear where the three patients live. A spokeswoman for the Baltimore County Health Department referred questions about the patients’ residences to the state health department, which declined to provide that information.

smeehan@baltsun.com

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