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Health Officials Warn of Potential Measles Exposure at Three US Airports

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A traveler who contracted measles passed through at least three different U.S. airports this month, prompting warnings to holiday travelers from health department officials.

According to the Austin American-Statesman, the unidentified passenger—Austin, Texas’ first case in two decades—developed the virus while traveling in Europe sometime in late November or early December, became sick on December 14 and noticed a rash on December 17, the same day that they boarded a United Airlines flight from Austin to Chicago, with a connection to Richmond, Virginia.

The traveler with measles was at the United gates inside Austin-Bergstrom International Airport on December 17 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. The infected passenger also visited Terminal 3 at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport on December 12 from 3:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. and O’Hare’s Terminal 1 on December 17 from 4:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Finally, they were at Richmond International Airport on December 17 from 9 p.m. to 11:45 p.m.

In this case, officials said travelers who passed through the aforementioned areas on the preceding dates may develop symptoms as late as January 11 and should contact their doctor immediately if they develop a fever before January 1.

For those who have not been vaccinated with the MMR immunization, measles can be spread by both air and direct contact. It’s highly contagious and potentially severe if left untreated. Initial symptoms could develop anywhere from seven to 21 days after exposure and include things such as fever, cough, red, watery eyes and a rash.

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

Earlier this month, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health warned travelers of possible measles exposure at Los Angeles International Airport.

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