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Health Officials Warn of Potential Measles Exposure at LAX

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Passengers traveling through Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) last week may have been exposed to measles, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health warned in a Measles Exposure Advisory published Monday.

The department confirmed that it’s “investigating three non-resident measles cases that traveled through LAX while infectious” on December 11. Travelers who passed through Terminals 4 and 5 between 6:50 a.m. and 12 p.m. on that day may have been exposed, officials warn.

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“For those who are not protected, measles is a highly contagious and potentially severe disease that initially causes fever, cough, red, watery eyes, and, finally, a rash,” said Muntu Davis, MD, MPH, Los Angeles County Health Officer, in a statement accompanying Monday’s advisory. “Measles is spread by air and by direct contact even before you know have it. The MMR immunization is a very effective measure to protect yourself and to prevent the unintentional spread of this potentially serious infection to others.”

Travelers who think they may have been exposed should review their immunization and medical records and contact their healthcare provider as soon as possible if they haven’t been vaccinated against measles.

Symptoms of the illness may develop anywhere from seven to 21 days after exposure so public health officials encourage those who may have been exposed to monitor themselves for things like fever or unexplained rash for several weeks. If symptoms do develop, they should stay at home and immediately contact a healthcare provider.

Earlier this year, New Jersey Department of Health officials warned travelers of possible measles exposure at Newark Liberty International Airport twice in a span of less than three months. In August, a flight attendant for Israel’s El Al died after contracting measles and falling into a coma following a flight from New York City to Israel earlier in the year.

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