New Jersey health officials are warning passengers who traveled through Newark Liberty International Airport that they may have been exposed to measles.
According to the New Jersey Department of Health press release, an international traveler with a confirmed case of measles arrived at the airport through Terminal C and departed for Indianapolis from a domestic terminal.
It is unknown what other areas of the airport the infected woman traveled to.
Measles is highly contagious, and Department of Health officials urge anyone who develops symptoms to call a health care provider before going to an office or emergency department to help prevent an outbreak.
From the New Jersey Department of Health press release:
On January 2, 2018, an international traveler with a confirmed case of measles—a highly contagious disease—arrived in Terminal C at Newark Liberty International Airport and departed for Indianapolis from a domestic terminal. The woman, an Indiana University student who was traveling alone, was infectious on that day, and may have traveled to other areas of the airport.
If you were at the airport between 6:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m, you may have been exposed to measles, and if infected could develop symptoms as late as January 23. If you develop symptoms of measles, the Department of Health recommends that you call a health care provider before going to a medical office or emergency department. Special arrangements can be made for evaluation while also protecting other patients and medical staff from possible infection.
According to the Center for Disease Control, the first symptoms of measles include fever, runny nose, cough, red eyes, and sore throat. The virus is spread through the air through coughing and sneezing. Later symptoms include the characteristic spotty rash that spreads over the body.
For more information on measles, visit the CDC’s website.
The New Jersey Department of Health issued a health alert on Friday, posting a warning to Twitter that urges anyone who suspects exposure to contact a health care provider.
The Department has issued a public health alert for potential measles exposure at Newark Liberty International Airport. Contact a health care provider if you suspect exposure. https://t.co/4BX9MnSsUd#HealthyNJ
— NJDOH (@NJDeptofHealth) January 12, 2018
“We urge everyone to check to make sure they and their family members are up-to-date on measles/mumps/rubella (MMR) vaccine and all other age-appropriate immunizations, said state epidemiologist Christina Tan.
Local health departments are also working to notify New Jersey residents who may have been potentially exposed aboard the two flights.
Indiana University officials, meanwhile, said they are also trying to identify and notify anyone who may have been in close contact with the student, whose diagnosis was confirmed on Jan. 6.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates Newark Liberty, said the airport manager has forwarded the state health department alert to the airport community, including employees and the airlines.
Measles is a highly contagious disease that can 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, officials said. Symptoms of the disease include rash, high fever, cough, runny nose and red, watery eyes, and can cause serious complications such as pneumonia and encephalitis, or swelling of the brain.
Measles infection in a pregnant woman can also lead to miscarriage, premature birth or a low-birth-weight baby.
If you were at Newark Liberty International Airport earlier this month, keep a close watch on your health. Although measles vaccinations obviously greatly reduce the risk of infection, the vaccinations aren’t 100% effective.
According to the New Jersey state epidemiologist, Christina Tan, two doses of measles vaccine are 97 percent effective in preventing measles.
Be safe, everyone.