Panic as health officials reveal travelers infected with measles exposed thousands at 5 US airports

Five different US airports had airline passengers pass through who were infected with measles, health officials say.

Earlier this month, three unvaccinated children exposed thousands when they connected through Los Angeles International Airport and Denver International Airport on December 11, while contagious.

But travelers may have also been exposed at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, Richmond International Airport in Virginia and Austin-Bergstrom International Airport in Texas. 

The news comes at the tail end of the largest outbreak of measles in the US since 1992, which infected nearly 1,300 people.  

Last week, measles warnings were issued for travelers who passed through Los Angeles Intentional Airport (pictured) and Denver International Airport on December 11

Health officials now say that passengers were exposed at three more airports. Pictured: Denver International Airport 

In Chicago, an unidentified person passed through two terminals over the course of a week, according to the Chicago Department of Public Health.

On December 12, he or she went through Terminal 3 between 3.30pm and 7.00pm and, on December 17, he or she passed through Terminal 1 between 4.30pm and 8.30pm.

The unidentified passenger also visited a Starbucks a gyro spot called Mr Greek Gyros while contagious.

In Virginia, a passenger with measles passed through Richmond International Airport on December 17 from 9.00pm to 11.45pm. 

‘Of note, the individual did not pick up bags in baggage claim and proceeded directly to a private vehicle at curbside for transport,’ read a release from the Virginia Department of Public Health. 

He or she also visited HealthVisions MD, a primary care practice in Midlothian on December 19 between 12.30pm and 5.30pm.

Meanwhile, at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, an infected traveler passed through the gate 29 area for United Airlines between 12pm and 4pm.

It’s the first time a measles case has been confirmed in Travis County since 1999, according to Austin Public Health.

From December 14 to December 16, that person also visited a Chipotle Mexican Grill, an H-E-B grocery store, Saam Thai restaurant, Mandola’s Italian restaurant, Target and Marco’s Pizza.

In all three states, people could experience symptoms as late January 11, 2020. 

As of December 5, the CDC says 1,276 people were diagnosed with measles in 2019 across 31 states.

The agency adds that the majority of the cases occurred among people who were unvaccinated – more than 75 percent linked to New York.

This year’s outbreak threatened the US losing its measles ‘elimination’ status, which effectively says the virus has been eradicated, from the World Health Organization.

An infected passenger passed through O’Hare International Airport (pictured) in Chicago on December 12 and December 17

In Virginia, a traveler with measles was at Richmond International Airport on December 17 from 9.00pm to 11.45pm

In Virginia, a traveler with measles was at Richmond International Airport on December 17 from 9.00pm to 11.45pm

On the same day, an infected person passed through Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (pictured) in Texas 12pm and 4pm

Measles is a highly contagious viral infection that once struck nearly every child by age 15.

When someone with measles coughs, sneezes or talks, infected droplets are sprayed into the air, where other people can inhale them and are then infected.

Symptoms present themselves between 10 to 14 days after infection and include fever, cough, runny nose and a total-body skin rash.

For most people, measles is miserable but not life-threatening. A small fraction of people get much sicker, and can suffer complications like pneumonia and brain swelling.

Additionally, measles can cause pregnant women to deliver prematurely.

Once common, the disease is now rare since the MMR vaccine was introduced in 1963.

The CDC recommends children receive the first dose at 12 to 15 months old and the second dose at four to six years old.

The vaccine is about 97 percent effective. But those who are unvaccinated have a 90 percent chance of catching measles if they breathe the virus in, according to the CDC.