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More travelers have been exposed to measles in US airports, according to health officials in two states. Two cases of the disease have been confirmed in people who traveled through Newark (EWR), Detroit (DTW) and Memphis (MEM) airports.
A passenger returning from India on March 6, arriving into the Detroit airport, was contagious in the north terminal, where customs and baggage claim are located. Anyone who was in the area between 2:00pm and 5:00pm is at risk of having caught measles. The passenger was hospitalized after returning to the US and is currently recovering.
A child who was traveling from Brussels (BRU) to Newark and onward to Memphis also exposed people in the two airports to the virus on Monday, March 12. New Jersey health officials said the child landed in Terminal B and transferred to Terminal C for his connecting flight to Memphis. He also “may have traveled to other areas of the airport,” the New Jersey Health Department said.
Those in the Newark airport on Monday from 12:45pm to 9:00pm are “most at risk of exposure,” according to officials. USA Today reports that travelers in the Memphis airport in the evening may also have been put at risk of catching the virus. Symptoms may appear as late as April 2.
This is the second report of measles in Newark in 2018; on January 2nd travelers in the New Jersey airport were exposed to measles for 11 hours.
The virus is spread through coughing and sneezing, and can live for “up to two hours in an airspace where the infected person coughed or sneezed.” According to the CDC, measles is so contagious that “if one person has it, 90% of the people close to that person who are not immune will also become infected.”
The CDC says approximately 90% of children in the US receive measles vaccines — with the immunization being more than 90% effective.
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