Measles Warning Issued After Infected Travelers Flew to Three Airports

Health officials in New Jersey and Michigan have issued a measles warning after two passengers infected with the virus passed through three different airports.

Health officials in Michigan and New Jersey are warning travelers who passed through three separate airports that they may have been exposed to measles following two confirmed cases in international travelers earlier this month.

On Wednesday, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced that it had confirmed the state’s first case of measles this year in a traveler from Washtenaw County. The individual had allegedly returned from traveling abroad on March 6 at the Detroit Metropolitan Airport.

The unidentified patient, who was contagious at the time of his return, was hospitalized and is currently recovering. Health officials are warning that anyone who was in customs or baggage claim in the airport’s north terminal between 2 and 5 p.m. that day should seek medical attention if they develop symptoms of the respiratory disease.

“This case underscores the importance of following vaccine recommendations and being up-to-date on vaccines,” said Dr. Eden Wells, MDHHS Chief Medical Executive. “Immunizations are the best way to protect our families and communities from the harmful, sometimes deadly consequences of vaccine-preventable diseases like measles. If you have questions about a child’s vaccination status or your own vaccination history, talk to your doctor right away to ensure your family has optimal protection.”

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Health officials in New Jersey are also warning travelers to be on alert after an international traveler with a confirmed case of measles arrived in Terminal B at Newark Liberty International Airport from Brussels and then departed to Memphis International Airport on Monday. The infected individual, a child, is said to have been highly contagious at the time of travel. Those who were at Newark Liberty International Airport between 12:45 and 9 p.m. may have been exposed to the virus.

The highly contagious virus has a 10 to 12 day incubation period and usually starts with symptoms of a high fever, red eyes, cough, runny nose, and sensitivity to light. It is followed by a red, raised body rash starting on the head and face, progressing to the rest of the body.