Passengers traveling through Washington Dulles on June 2nd are being warned that there could be a measles risk at the airport. This comes after a child contracted the illness and returned through Dulles airport from an international trip.
The US is in the midst of a 27 year high for cases of the measles. Now it seems travelers through the busy Washington Dulles Airport could be at risk, as a child is known to have passed through the area whilst infected with the disease. Health officials are investigating and are urging people who were at the airport as well as two other locations on the 2nd to 4th June to be vigilant for symptoms.
What are the details?
Passengers are particularly wanted to be vigilant if they were at Terminal A or the baggage claim area on June 2nd between 5:30pm and 8:30pm. Officials say they could have been exposed and are warning people to be on the lookout for symptoms.
Health officials have issued a list of areas where the infected person traveled, warning people who were in the vicinity that they could have been exposed. As posted on NBC, these include:
- Dulles International Airport, Terminal A and baggage claim on Sunday, June 2 from 5:30-8:30 p.m.
- Novant Health UVA Health System Haymarket Medical Center Emergency Room, on Sunday, June 2 from 11 p.m. to Monday, June 3 at 4:30 a.m.
- Inova Fair Oaks Hospital Emergency Room, on Tuesday, June 4, from 3-5:30 p.m.
They are warning of the long incubation period of measles, saying that anyone who has been infected at any one of these locations could develop symptoms as late as the 25th June.
Watch out for symptoms
Anyone who was in the areas listed are being urged not to ignore feelings of being unwell. Measles typically starts very much like the common cold or a mild flu, so in its early stages it’s easily dismissed as something else.
Symptoms typically begin with a fever, runny nose, a cough and watery eyes. Between the third and seventh days of symptoms, sufferers may start to develop the characteristic spotty rash that measles is well known for. However, not all sufferers develop the rash in a noticeable way or at all.
If you suspect you may have contracted measles, it’s important to get in touch with your health department or doctor’s office right away. Try to stay away from others and let the emergency room know before you arrive there if you plan to go. Those who have had two doses of the measles vaccine such as the MMR are fully protected. Those who have just have one dose are at low risk.
The Virginia Health Departments has directed concerned people to their webpage, or invited them to call 571-233-7314.
Measles on the rise
Throughout the world, measles cases are on the rise. The incredibly infectious disease had all but been eradicated from the western world, thanks to mass immunization programs. However, with negative press surrounding vaccinations, particularly the combined MMR vaccine, the number of vaccinated children has decreased from the levels a couple of decades ago.
With so many people traveling so much further than ever before, often to and from countries which don’t have vaccination programs, the occasional outbreak is not entirely suspiring. The problem is so bad, that the US is working with the CDC to prevent passengers potentially infected from boarding aircraft at all.
Back in March, there was a measles scare at Los Angeles International (LAX) after a passenger arriving on a China Eastern flight transited while infected. And, just a month later, an El Al flight attendant traveling from New York ended up in hospital after contracting measles.