During a week of busy holiday travel, health officials are warning travelers of a possible measles exposure at five U.S. airports.
According to health officials, an unidentified person, who is believed to have contracted the disease while traveling in Europe in late November, visited the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport in Austin, Texas last week.
“That individual became ill on December the 14th and developed a rash on December the 17th. On that same day, December 17th, he boarded a flight from Austin to Chicago, United Flight 790, with a connecting flight to Virginia,” says Dr. Mark Escott, Interim Health Authority for Austin Public Health.
Health officials in Chicago and Virginia are also investigating possible exposures at O'Hare and Richmond international airports.
Health officials say on December 11, three unvaccinated children with measles visiting from New Zealand likely exposed travelers at Denver and Los Angeles international airports, health officials say.
“It's important to remember that measles can be a deadly disease. Immunization remains the best protection against measles and other vaccine preventable diseases,” says Dr. Escott.
The measles virus spreads through coughing and sneezing and can live in the air for up to two hours.
Symptoms can include a high fever, cough, runny nose, pink eye, and a red, splotchy rash.