DHHS: N.H. Child Didn't Have Measles, Just Vaccine Reaction

May 23, 2019

The Histopathology of measles pneumonia.
Credit CDC

New Hampshire State health officials say a case of measles identified in Keene last week was in fact a rare reaction to a measles vaccine.

Officials now say the child who suffered the reaction was never contagious.

State epidemiologist Ben Chan says the child had an unusually strong reaction to the measles or MMR vaccine which exposes the body to a weaker, non-contagious version of the measles virus.

"Over the last five years, probably close to 50,000 doses of the MMR vaccine have been administered to children around the state and we’ve never had reports of this type of reaction before," Chan said.

The child is now in good health.

While this case turned out to be a false-alarm, Chan urges everyone to check their vaccination status, noting that measles rates nationwide are as high as they’ve been in 25 years.

Last week, the Department of Health and Human Services said in a news release the child was diagnosed with measles and may have exposed others to infection at three locations in Keene.

On Thursday, the department also said there is no contagious measles known to be circulating in the community.

(NHPR Reporter Jason Moon contributed to this story.)

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