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Public Health warns of possible measles exposure at Sea-Tac Airport

Seattle Times - 6/1/2024

May 31—Public Health — Seattle & King County announced Friday that someone recently traveled through Seattle-Tacoma International Airport while infectious with measles, possibly exposing fellow travelers.

The individual passed through the busy travel hub on May 10 and May 11, according to Public Health, which was notified of the incident on Thursday, according to a news release.

"Measles is highly contagious and if you don't have immunity, you can get it just by being in a room where a person with measles has been," said Dr. Eric Chow, communicable disease chief for Public Health — Seattle & King County.

The individual was likely exposed to the virus while traveling through Europe. They live in Arizona, and their vaccine status is unknown, according to the release.

Measles mainly spreads after an infected person coughs or sneezes. It can cause fever, rash, cough, runny nose and red, watery eyes, according to Public Health.

Most people in the region have immunity through vaccination, Public Health said, so the risk to the general public is low.

The carrier traveled through the S Concourse, international Customs arrivals and baggage claim in the evening on May 10 and was in the A Concourse on the morning of May 11.

If you were at the locations at the times listed above and have not received the measles vaccine, Public Health officials said people would mostly like become sick between May 17 and June 1. But symptoms could take longer to show up in immunocompromised people.

Anyone who was in those locations at that time should find out if they have been vaccinated for measles or had measles previously, and make sure they are up-to-date on the recommended number of measles vaccines, Public Health said.

If you develop an illness with a fever or an unexplained rash, call a health care provider promptly, Public Health advised. Don't go to a clinic or hospital without calling first and telling them you want to be checked for measles, and limit your contact with other people.

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