The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health is assessing a non-resident measles case that traveled through Los Angeles International Airport in late May while infectious, officials said Friday.
Public Health officials are also looking to identify others who are at risk for measles and may have been exposed to this person.
The department urges residents, especially those who travel internationally and those who have not been fully protected against measles, to get immunized in order to better protect their individual health and to prevent the spread of measles to others.
Other people may have been exposed since this person visited public locations while infectious.
Potential public exposure locations and times were as follows:
* May 26: LAX, Terminal 4, Gate 48B, between 9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.
* May 28: LAX, Tom Bradley International Terminal, Remote Gate, between 3:30 p.m. and 5:50 p.m.
There is no known current risk related to measles that exists at any of these venues at this time.
Anyone who may have been at these locations on those dates may be at risk of developing the virus for up to 21 days after being exposed. People who were in the location(s) above around the same time(s) should:
* Review their immunization and medical histories if they don’t already know they are protected. People who have not had the virus or the immunization should talk with a health care provider about receiving Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) immunization.
* Contact and notify their health care provider as soon as possible about a potential exposure if they are pregnant, an infant, have a weakened immune system and/or are unimmunized.
* Monitor themselves for illness with fever and/or an unexplained rash from 7 days to 21 days after their exposure (the time period when symptoms may develop); if symptoms develop, stay at home and call a health care provider immediately.
Public Health is also working with LAX and the airline to contact people who may have been exposed to this case and who are at risk of developing the disease, especially those at increased risk of severe outcomes, such as infants, pregnant women, and those with compromised or weak immune systems.
Currently, there are eight measles cases among Los Angeles County residents in 2019, and this makes seven non-resident cases that traveled through the county. Of the eight cases among residents, three are not linked to any of the others, and two of these cases are linked to international travel. The majority of the cases were unvaccinated.
Additional cases and exposures may occur here related to returning travelers, especially returning international travelers who are not already immunized. Public Health encourages everyone who can to be up-to-date with their recommended immunizations.
“For those who are not protected, measles is a highly contagious and potentially severe disease that initially causes fever, cough, red, watery eyes, and, finally, a rash,” said Muntu Davis, MD, MPH, Los Angeles County Health Officer.
“It gets spread, by air and by direct contact, even before you know have it,” Davis said. “The MMR immunization is a very effective measure to protect yourself and to prevent the unintentional spread of this potentially serious infection to others.”
Measles is considered among the most contagious viruses in the world. About 90% of people who have never been immunized against the virus become ill 7-21 days after exposure. Infected people can infect those around them before they have symptoms and know they are infected.
Common symptoms include fever, cough, runny nose, conjunctivitis (red eyes) and a rash which usually appears 10 to 21 days after the exposure. The virus can be transmitted from one person to another up to 4 days before the onset of rash.
Individuals should contact their healthcare provider by phone before going in if they develop measles symptoms, so measures can be taken to prevent possible spread to others in the provider’s waiting room.
They should also tell their doctor or another healthcare provider if they traveled internationally or had international visitors in the last 21 days or had exposure to another person with measles.
Public Health interviews all persons with measles in the county to identify who may have come in contact with them, in order to try to prevent further spread of the disease. Public Health communicates with health care providers, health plans, local governments, schools, and elected officials to provide updates on the measles outbreak and actions they can take to help prevent the spread of measles and support the countywide response.
Measles immunizations are available at healthcare providers, local pharmacy or health clinic. Public Health clinics offer no or low-cost immunizations for individuals who are uninsured or underinsured. To find a nearby Public Health clinic, call 2-1-1 or click-tap here.
For more information about measles, visit http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/media/measles or call 2-1-1.