Travelers May Have Been Exposed to Measles at Detroit Airport

Nov 7, 2018

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Officials confirmed two cases of measles in travelers who passed through Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW), and who may have exposed other flyers to the highly contagious disease.

Health department officials for Detroit’s Oakland County said Tuesday that two residents of the northwestern suburb were diagnosed with measles after they passed through DTW at 5pm on Oct. 23. Authorities are advising passengers who were also in the airport that day to monitor themselves for symptoms for up to 21 days after the exposure. If symptoms are detected, travelers should contact their doctors.

Symptoms of measles include high fever and a red rash over the face, arms and abdomen. Other symptoms are a cough, runny nose, red, watery eyes and tiny white spots on the inner cheeks, gums and roof of the mouth.

Measles is passed from person to person through the air when an infected person sneezes or coughs. People who are not vaccinated for measles and are exposed to the virus have a 90% chance of contracting the illness, health officials told the Detroit News. Experts say the virus can only survive for two hours in the air or on surfaces, but can live for up to a three-week incubation period in the human body. Airport officials did not say what airline or terminal the infected travelers passed through.

Earlier this fall, travelers were similarly exposed to measles at New Jersey’s Newark Airport (EWR) and four different Southwest flights throughout the state of Texas.

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