Passengers who visited airports in Detroit, Newark, and Memphis over the past week are at risk for measles. Two patients who traveled from these airports were found to have measles and were hospitalized. The U.S. health officials have issued a warning as the disease is highly contagious.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services on Wednesday confirmed a case of measles from a person who traveled through the Detroit Metropolitan Airport on March 6. The patient traveled from India to Washtenaw County in Michigan. The agency said that the person, whose gender was not revealed, stayed mostly at the customs and baggage claim area. Other passengers who were in that area between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. are at risk of contracting the disease and should be wary of the symptoms that can develop in 10 to 12 days after exposure. The patient was hospitalized and is now recovering, the Washington Post reports.
Another measles case was identified in Newark and Memphis. A young child who traveled from Brussels to Newark Liberty International Airport and then to Memphis International Airport was confirmed to have measles, Time reports. The child arrived at Newark’s Terminal B and left from Terminal C to Memphis, exposing people who were there between 12:45 p.m. and 9 p.m. to the virus. New Jersey officials said that the symptoms could appear by April 2.
Measles spreads through a sneeze or a cough, and being in a room with an infected person for a couple of hours can also put a person at high risk. Health officials urged people to watch out for the symptoms within the expected incubation period and contact their health providers as soon as possible.
Measles can lead to other complications, such as hearing loss, pneumonia, and encephalitis in children 5-years-old and below. It can also lead to premature birth among pregnant women, according to USA Today. Worst, it can also result in death.
The symptoms start with a fever, runny nose, sore throat, and red eyes. Then rashes appear on the head and face and spread all over the body. Those who have not received measles vaccine are particularly at high risk, while those who were given with the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine when they were children are considered protected for life.
Health officials noted that these measles cases highlight the importance of immunization.
“Immunizations are the best way to protect our families and communities from the harmful, sometimes deadly consequences of vaccine-preventable diseases like measles,” said MDHHS Chief Medical Executive Dr. Eden Wells.