SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

May 3, 2013

Beverly High School confirms measles case

BY PAUL LEIGHTON
STAFF WRITER

---- — BEVERLY — Beverly High School nurses were required to notify more than 300 people about a case of measles involving one person who was at the school on a recent Saturday.

Cathy Riccio, the nurse leader for the Beverly Public Schools, said the district was informed last week by the state Department of Public Health that a person who was at the school on April 13 during the ACT test came down with a confirmed case of measles. ACT is a college readiness assessment.

The state required Beverly officials to notify everyone who entered the building that day and to obtain proof that they had been immunized against measles. High school nurses Kim Pappas and Cathy Ober notified 344 people and confirmed their immunity, Riccio said.

The people included 167 students from surrounding communities, 95 Beverly High students, 21 Beverly High staff members and 61 student-athletes who entered the high school building that day.

Riccio said Pappas and Ober “did a fantastic job” of notifying students.

Measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by a virus. It is spread through the air, by breathing, coughing or sneezing.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, measles is so contagious that any child who is exposed to it and is not immune will “probably” get the disease. For every 1,000 children who get measles, one or two will die, according to the CDC.

Measles has become rare in the United States through vaccinations.

The CDC reports that there are only about 50 cases a year, and most originate outside the country.

Staff writer Bethany Bray contributed to this story.