Possible measles exposure at Philadelphia International Airport

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Saturday, October 12, 2019
Possible measles exposure at Philadlephia International Airport
Possible measles exposure at Philadlephia International Airport: as seen on Action News Mornings, October 12, 2019.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- There is a health alert for travelers who visited Philadelphia International Airport earlier this month. They may have been exposed to measles.

Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine and Philadelphia Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley issued the alert on Thursday.

The potential exposures occurred at the following locations and times:

  • Wednesday, Oct. 2, Terminal F from 6:30 p.m. to 12 a.m.
  • Thursday, Oct. 3, Terminal F from 4 p.m. to 12 a.m.
  • Thursday, Oct. 3, Terminal A from 8:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, Oct. 3, Terminal A/B shuttle bus from 8:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.

A traveler with a suspected case of the contagious virus was in Terminal F on October 2 and 3.

The person also traveled through terminal A, and on the shuttle bus from terminal A to B on the Oct 3.

"An individual with a suspected case of measles was present in the Philadelphia International Airport on two days and may have exposed many individuals," Secretary Levine said. "The Department of Health is working with the county and municipal health departments to notify Pennsylvanians who were on flights with the suspected case, but other individuals may have been exposed at the airport during the identified times; however, if you have been properly immunized against measles, your risk of getting the disease is minimal. If you believe you might have been exposed and experience symptoms, please contact your health-care provider or call our toll-free hotline at 1-877-PA-HEALTH."

To date, 15 cases of measles have been confirmed in Pennsylvania in 2019. More than 1,200 cases have been reported in the United States in 2019. This is the greatest number of cases reported in the U.S. since 1992.

Measles is a highly contagious but vaccine-preventable disease that spreads through coughing, sneezing or other contact with the mucus or saliva of an infected person. Symptoms typically appear one to three weeks after exposure and include: rash; high fever; cough; and red, watery eyes.

According to Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) those most at-risk are:

  • Infants less than one year of age who are too young to have received the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine;
  • Individuals who refused vaccination; and
  • Individuals from parts of the world where there is low vaccination coverage or circulating measles.

Additionally, even if you were vaccinated, you may still be at risk if you were vaccinated with an inactivated vaccine, which was used from 1963 through 1967, and have not been revaccinated; or you were born after 1957 and have only received one dose of MMR vaccine.

ONLINE: Department of Health