Thousands of LAX passengers are urged to check for measles after three infected travelers passed through the airport last week
- Three unidentified travelers traveled through Los Angeles Intentional Airport on December 11
- Health officials say anyone who was in the terminals between 6.50am and 12pm on either of those days may have been exposed
- As of December 5, the CDC says 1,276 cases were confirmed across 31 states
- The US was close to losing its ‘elimination’ status from the World Health Organization, but has retained it so far
Three people infected with measles passed through Los Angeles Intentional Airport, last week while contagious, officials have warned.
The unidentified travelers, who are not local residents, were in Terminals 4 and 5 on December 11, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (DPH).
Officials said in a release on Monday that anyone who was at either of those terminals between 6.50am and noon on that day may have develop symptoms up to 21 days after exposure.
This year, there have been 20 measles cases among Los Angeles County residents and another 14 involving non-residents that traveled through the county, the department said.
The warning also comes at the tail end of the largest outbreak of measles in the US since 1992 which infected nearly 1,300 people.
Three unidentified travelers infected with measles were at Terminals 4 and 5 at Los Angeles International Airport (pictured) on December 11 between 6.50am and noon
‘Anyone who may have been at this location on those dates may be at risk of developing measles for up to 21 days after being exposed,’ DPH said in a statement.
‘Public Health urges residents, especially those who travel internationally and those who have not been fully protected against measles, to get the measles immunization in order to better protect their individual health and to prevent the spread of measles to others.’
The department is urging anyone who thinks they may have been exposed to make sure their immunization records are up-to-date or to contact their doctor with questions.
As of December 5, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (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.
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 (measles, mumps, rubella) 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.