According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a young woman with measles who traveled through three airports in the United States may have passed the highly transmittable virus on to other travelers, flight crews and airport workers.
The 27-year-old woman from Mexico who departed from the UK landed in Washington Dulles International Airport last Tuesday, and spent several hours at Denver International Airport before flying to Albuquerque International Airport.
Issuing an alert, officials from the Colorado Health Department stated, “A person with the measles arrived at DIA, Gate C39, at approximately 9 p.m. and remained in the area for several hours.
“People who were working or traveling through Concourse C at DIA on Tuesday after 9 p.m. should monitor themselves for any early symptoms of measles, especially fever, from March 1 to March 12. People who develop a fever should contact their health care provider or their local or state health department.
“People with symptoms should not go to child care, school, work or out in public, as they might have the early symptoms of measles and might be contagious. People with these symptoms should call their doctor to inform the office about their symptoms before showing up in the waiting room.”
Tthough, individuals who have been inoculated for measles or have already had it are immune, there is potential risk for others, especially unvaccinated kids.
CDC trying to track passengers
Going by the airplane seating data, the health departments in each region are trying to contact those who may have been exposed to the highly contagious, viral disease.
The health officials are concentrating on passengers who sat closest to the woman on the planes.
They will be particularly monitoring infants, children and people with underlying medical conditions who may have been exposed to measles for about a month.
Since the exposure, about 200 people have received vaccinations free of cost at various clinics.
Though, individuals who have been inoculated for measles or have already had it are immune, there is potential risk for others, especially unvaccinated kids.
William Schaffner, chair of the Department of Preventive Medicine at Vanderbilt Medical School stated, "Public health authorities considers this a medical urgency, if not an emergency. They will do everything they can to track down everyone to see if they are indeed protected."
A little about measles
Measles is a viral infection caused by the rubeola virus. It is a highly contagious disease that spreads easily though coughing, sneezing and secretions from the mouth.
The virus may remain in the air for a couple of hours.
People with the measles are contagious for four days before and four days after the rash appears. Measles typically develop seven to 18 days after a person is exposed to the virus.
Early symptoms are mild to moderate fever, runny nose, cough and red, watery eyes and sore throat. Within one to four days after symptoms begin, tiny white spots may appear inside the mouth.
Around five days later a reddish brown rash shows up on your face and spreads to the rest of the body.
This may be accompanied by a spike in temperature.