A measles outbreak is spreading across a Washington county known for choosing not to vaccinate its children, and health officials have declared a public health emergency.
People who traveled through Los Angeles International Airport last month might have been infected with measles, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health said Tuesday.
A person with the highly contagious virus arrived at the airport on China Eastern Flight 583 at the Tom Bradley International Airport Terminal B, Gate 133 on the morning of Feb. 21. The person then had a layover before catching Delta Flight 5705 out of Terminal 3, Gate 32.
Health officials warned anyone who was at Terminal B and Delta Terminal 3 from 9 a.m. through 9 p.m. Feb. 21 that they could have been exposed to measles. The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health is notifying specific travelers on Delta Flight 5705 of the possible contamination.
The county health department, which learned details of the case on March 7, said there is no known measles risk at LAX because the period of possible exposure has passed.
Symptoms of measles include fever, runny nose, cough, sore throat and a rash that spreads all over the body. Measles is so contagious that 90 percent of unvaccinated people who come in contact with an infected person will get the virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“If you think that you or someone you know has been exposed to or has measles, contact your healthcare provider by phone right away before going in,” Muntu Davis, Los Angeles County health officer, said in a statement.
The CDC is monitoring cases of measles in 12 states and has identified six outbreaks. In Clark County, Washington – an anti-vaccination hot spot – more than 70 cases of measles have been confirmed, mostly unvaccinated children.
People choosing not to vaccinate have become a global health threat in 2019, the World Health Organization reported. The CDC recognized that the number of children who aren’t being vaccinated by 24 months old has been gradually increasing.
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