Philly health officials warn of possible measles exposure at Philadelphia International Airport

A person with measles who traveled through Terminal A West on May 31 may have exposed others to the virus, city officials say.

Philadelphia airport

A traveler moves through the Philadelphia International Airport ahead of the Independence Day holiday weekend in Philadelphia, Friday, July 1, 2022. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

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Travelers who passed through a federal inspection area at Philadelphia International Airport on Friday afternoon may have been exposed to measles, city officials warned Monday morning.

The Philadelphia Department of Public Health stated that a person with measles was traveling through Terminal A West. Officials say people in the area between 2:50 and 6 p.m. on Friday, May 31 may have been exposed to the highly contagious virus.

“We believe there is no threat to the general public associated with this case of measles,” Dr. Landrus Burress, director of the city Division of Disease Control, said in a statement. “Many countries, including travel destinations, are experiencing measles outbreaks, so the potential for travel-related measles cases and subsequent outbreaks in the United States has increased.”

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City health officials did not say whether the person with measles at the airport had traveled abroad or if they were vaccinated.

The incident is unrelated to a different measles case identified in mid-May with possible exposures in Philadelphia and Montgomery County.

Measles spreads from one person to another through contact with respiratory droplets in the air from coughing and sneezing. It is contagious from four days before to four days after a rash appears, when someone who is infected with the virus is most likely to transmit it to others.

Early symptoms can include fever, runny nose, cough, and red, puffy eyes. Typically, a red body rash follows. The measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine is highly effective in preventing illness and serious infection, which can cause pneumonia, brain swelling and, in rare cases, death.

Health department officials said people who are not vaccinated and who may have been exposed at the airport should monitor for symptoms through June 21. Anyone who experiences signs of infection should contact their health providers immediately and notify their local health department.

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