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Travelers at O’Hare Airport Exposed to 2 Measles Cases in 2 Days

2 minute read

Public health officials are warning passengers who traveled through Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport last week after two causes of measles were reported there in two days.

The first report occurred on Jan. 9 when a passenger landed at Terminal 5, the international terminal, then departed from a domestic terminal. The following day another passenger with measles landed at the same terminal, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Both passengers arrived at the airport with unrelated cases and there is no measles outbreak at the airport, the health department said.

Travelers who were at O’Hare, one of the world’s busiest airports, on Jan. 9 between 8:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. and Jan. 10 between 6:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. could be at risk, the health department said.

Public health officials are contacting everyone who was on flights with the infected individuals.

Anyone who believes they were exposed is being urged to contact a doctor. Anyone who believes they are infected should call their doctor or emergency room in advance so that proper containment procedures can be put in place.

Health officials are warning that measles is highly contagious. It is transmitted through coughing or sneezing and the virus can live in the air for up to two hours after an infected person leaves.

Those who have been vaccinated for measles as a child are not at high risk. People who have not been vaccinated are at the highest risk, health officials said. Only about 3% of people who have had two dosages of the measles vaccination can still get measles if exposed to the virus, according to the Centers of Disease Control.

“It is important for everyone who can be vaccinated to get vaccinated, if they aren’t already,” Dr. Jennifer Layden, chief medical officer of the health department, said in a statement Wednesday. “Getting vaccinated not only protects you, it protects others around you who are too young to get the vaccine or can’t receive it for medical reasons.”

Measles symptoms typically begin about 14 days after exposure, meaning infected people could show symptoms beginning Feb. 1. Signs include high fever, cough, runny nose and red, watery eyes, according to the CDC. The highly contagious virus .


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