Travelers who passed through Los Angeles International Airport
(LAX) in February may have been exposed
to the measles virus.
According to a
statement released this week by The Los Angeles County
Department of Public Health, a person carrying the virus landed at
Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT), Gate 133, on China
Eastern flight 583 on Feb. 21.
Following a layover, the person departed on Delta flight 5705
out of Terminal 3, Gate 32. Health officials are now warning that
anyone who was in either TBIT or Terminal 3 between 9am and 9pm on
that day could have been exposed to the virus. Passengers on Delta
flight 5705 have also been notified.
The measles virus is considered highly
contagious by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC), and can survive up to two hours in the air after an
infected person coughs or sneezes. Common symptoms of measles
include high fever, cough, runny nose, red or watery eyes
(conjunctivitis also occurs in some cases) and a rash of little
red bumps that spreads from the forehead down the body.
As many as 90% of people who come in close contact with a person
infected with the measles virus are likely to catch the disease
if they aren’t immune.
The LA County Department of Public Health also stated that if
exposed individuals have not developed any measles symptoms by
March 14, they are no longer considered at risk for developing
Dr. Rajiv Narula, MD — founder of the International Travel
Health Consultants — told The Points Guy that travelers
concerned about having contracted the virus should call their
physician. “Let [him or her] know you may have been exposed and
see if you have the vaccines.”
The measles virus is extremely preventable through the MMR
(measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine. Considered safe and
effective by health officials, two doses of the vaccine are about
97% effective at preventing measles.
Yet, despite a reported 99% reduction in measles cases in the US
today when compared to the “prevaccination” era, measles is
still fairly common in other countries and can be carried from
abroad by unvaccinated travelers.
If you aren’t immune, Dr. Narula also said you can get immune
globulin antibodies as something of a last-ditch effort to avoid
the measles. And travelers with infants should consider getting
their children vaccinated early, especially if traveling to a
destination where measles is still prevalent, or outbreaks have
In 2019, the CDC has already identified six measles outbreaks in
the US and is monitoring cases
across 12 states. And with the antivaccination movement that
World Health Organization has dubbed a major global health
threat growing, measles cases have increased by 30% around the
Featured image by Ken Ross/VW Pics/UIG via Getty Images.
Source: FS – All-Travel destinations-News2
Officials Warn of Potential Measles Exposure at LAX