CONCORD -- The Keene-area child believed to be infected with measles was probably experiencing a reaction from the measles vaccine, and the public is not at risk of a measles outbreak, state health officials said.
Earlier this week, state officials said that the child had visited a church and school in the Keene area and warned that those near the child were at risk of exposure.
It was New Hampshire’s only supposed case of measles, and the news piggybacked on outbreaks in New York and California, where health officials blamed parents who did not immunize children against the disease.
But early Thursday afternoon, state officials said additional laboratory test results suggest that the live-attenuated measles-mumps-rubella vaccine was responsible for the child’s symptoms.
“Therefore, (the Department of Health and Human Services) is suspending additional public health interventions. There is no contagious measles known to be circulating in the community,” DHHS said in a release.
About 5 percent of individuals vaccinated with the MMR vaccine develop a fever and rash reaction, health officials said. These reactions happen because the body is responding to the vaccine by making protective virus-fighting antibodies against the harmless vaccine virus.
More serious or extensive reactions that resemble a real (i.e. wild-type) measles virus infection, as was seen in this child, are very rare. The scientific literature has found no confirmed cases of human-to-human transmission of the vaccine strain of the measles virus, the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services said.