A child who traveled through an airport in Washington state was later confirmed to have measles, potentially exposing others to the disease, according to health officials in the state.
The child, a boy, is a King County, Wash., resident who traveled through the Sea-Tac Airport on Nov. 5. Exposure to others may have occurred between 10 p.m. and 12:30 a.m. at Gate N-11 and Carousel 13 in the airport’s baggage claim area.
“These times include the period when the individual was at the location and two hours after. The measles virus can remain in the air for up to two hours after someone infectious with measles leaves the area. Anyone who was at these locations during the times listed could have been exposed to measles,” King County officials said, noting the boy’s infection was likely acquired while traveling overseas.
“Measles outbreaks continue to circulate in many areas of the world. As long as people travel, no community is safe from measles introductions,” said Jeff Duchin, Health Officer for Public Health – Seattle & King County, in a statement.
He went on to say that measles vaccine is safe, effective and offers excellent protection.
“During our COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important to stay up-to-date on all scheduled vaccinations for children, so we don’t lose important community protections against other serious infections.”
Measles is a highly contagious virus that spreads through the air after an infected person coughs or sneezes. Others can contract measles when they breathe the contaminated air or touch a contaminated surface, and then touch their eyes, nose or mouth.
“Infected people can spread measles to others from four days before through four days after the rash appears,” says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The MMR vaccine, which protects against measles, mumps and rubella, can help to prevent contracting the virus.
Young children are typically most at risk of contracting measles; the CDC recommends children get two doses of the MMR vaccination, but the first dose is typically given to children when they are between 12 and 15 months old, with the second occurring between ages 4 and 6.