Officials: Newark Airport Passengers Possibly Exposed to Measles on Christmas Eve

A United Continental Holdings Inc. airplane prepares for landing as the New York City skyline stands in the background at Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) in Newark, New Jersey, U.S., on Wednesday, April 12, 2017. United Airlines is under fire for forcibly removing a passenger from a plane in Chicago …
Timothy Fadek/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Health officials warned travelers at Newark Liberty International Airport on Christmas Eve that they may have been in contact with a passenger who had measles.

The New Jersey Department of Public Health announced Friday that an international passenger who had a confirmed case of measles traveled through Terminal B at Newark Liberty International Airport on December 24, and warned travelers who were in the airport between 12 p.m. and 4 p.m. that they could have been exposed to the disease.

Those exposed to the disease could be at risk for developing symptoms as late as January 14, officials said.

Typical symptoms of measles include high fever, rash, cough, runny nose, and red, watery eyes, according to a fact sheet from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). In some rare cases, complications from measles could be life-threatening.

The disease can spread through contact with an infected person’s bodily fluids— such as mucus or saliva— or by air when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

Those most at risk for catching the disease are those who have not received the measles/mumps/rubella (MMR) vaccine.

“Anyone who has not been vaccinated or has not had measles is at risk if they are exposed,” said Dr. Christina Tan, state epidemiologist. “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.”

Authorities are urging those who think they have been exposed to measles to call their doctor or head to an emergency room. The measles outbreak is the second one in New Jersey this year.

An ongoing measles outbreak in Ocean County reportedly infected up to 33 people, but officials say the exposure at Newark Airport is not related to the Ocean County outbreak.

Officials in Illinois issued a similar warning in January 2018 after a sick passenger arriving at Chicago O’Hare Airport from an international flight exposed hundreds of passengers to measles.

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