SPRINGFIELD – On January 10, 2018, a passenger on an international flight with a confirmed case of measles arrived in Terminal 5 at Chicago O’Hare International Airport and departed on a domestic flight from Terminal 1. The passenger, who was infectious on that day, may have traveled to other areas of the airport. Measles is highly contagious.
People may have been exposed to measles if they were at O’Hare International Airport between 6:30AM and 1:00PM on January 10, 2018. Most individuals are vaccinated routinely in childhood and are not at high risk. Of most of concern are people who have not been vaccinated. Individuals who think they have been exposed should check with their health care provider about protection through prior vaccination or the need for vaccination.
If infected, you could develop symptoms as late as January 31, 2018. Symptoms of measles include rash, high fever, cough, runny nose and red, watery eyes. If you develop symptoms of measles, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) recommends you call a health care provider before going to a medical office or emergency department. Special arrangements can be made for your evaluation while also protecting other patients and medical staff from possible infection.
Measles can cause serious complications such as pneumonia and encephalitis (swelling of the brain). Measles is easily spread through the air when someone coughs or sneezes. People can also get sick when they come in contact with mucus or saliva from an infected person.
“Two doses of measles vaccine are about 97 percent effective in preventing measles,” said IDPH Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jennifer Layden. “We urge everyone to make sure they and their family members are up-to-date on measles/mumps/rubella (MMR) vaccine and all other age-appropriate immunizations. Getting vaccinated not only protects you, it protects others around you who are too young to get the vaccine or can’t receive it for medical reasons.”
Local health departments are working to notify Illinois residents who were identified as being potentially exposed on the ill person’s flights. For more information about measles, contact your health care provider, or visit the Illinois Department of Public Health website at http://www.dph.illinois.gov/topics-services/diseases-and-conditions/diseases-a-z-list/measles.
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