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Measles alert after two passengers with the disease fly into US

Measles alert after two passengers with the disease fly into US

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Vulnerable persons who have not been vaccinated for measles and have been through airports in Newark, New Jersey, Detroit and Memphis this month are being warned about the possible risk of measles by the health officials. They have announced that two air passengers from overseas were confirmed to have had measles and were travelling via these airports.

According to the official sources, these two cases have happened within a few days of each other. The first case was confirmed on 6th of March when a passenger carrying the infection came in from an unknown origin abroad to Detroit Metropolitan Airport. They had to be admitted to a hospital at a later stage according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS). The second case was that of a child who flew in from Brussels to Newark Liberty International Airport and then to Memphis, where they were isolated.

The warning comes from the New Jersey Department of Health that says that people passing through Terminal B or Terminal C in Newark between 2:45 PM and 9:00 PM need to seek medical help if they develop any symptom of measles.

The risk of spread is higher because measles virus can be spread via droplets released in air due to sneezing or coughing. However the virus remains viable outside for only around two hours. The disease may take 10 to 12 days to manifest after exposure to the virus.

Symptoms of measles include sore throat, cough, runny nose and eyes, fever and a classic measles red dusky rash. People at risk are those who have not been vaccinated for this infection that is around 10 percent of the population. Children below the age of 5 years, elderly, pregnant women and immunocompromized individuals are at greatest risk if they have not been vaccinated against this infection.

According to officials, refusal to vaccinate has resulted in 118 cases of measles last year in the US. With the vaccine, an individual is 97 percent protected from the infection. Dr. Eden Wells, MDHHS Chief Medical Executive added, “Immunizations are the best way to protect our families and communities from the harmful, sometimes deadly consequences of vaccine-preventable diseases like measles. If you have questions about a child’s vaccination status or your own vaccination history, talk to your doctor right away to ensure your family has optimal protection.”

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