Health officials in New Jersey are warning passengers who traveled through Newark Liberty International Airport earlier this month that they may have been exposed to measles.
On January 2, 2018, a traveler with a confirmed case of the highly contagious disease arrived in Newark from an international flight. The New Jersey Department of Health statement notes that the traveler was “infectious on that day” when she arrived into Terminal C.
After a layover, she “departed for Indianapolis from a domestic terminal,” but “may have traveled to other areas of the airport.”
They say anyone at the airport between 6:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. on Jan. 2 may have been exposed and could develop symptoms as late as Jan. 23.
Due to the unknown extent of the exposure, the NJDOH is warning all travelers that were at the airport between 6:30am and 5:30pm on January 2 that they “may have been exposed to measles, and if infected could develop symptoms as late as January 23.” The department isn’t sharing the traveler’s flight information, but notes that “local health departments are also working to notify New Jersey residents who were identified as potentially exposed on the ill individual’s flights.”
Measles symptoms include rash, high fever, cough, runny nose and red, watery eyes. If you were traveling through Newark on January 2 and have these symptoms, NJDOH recommends that you “call a health care provider before going to a medical office or emergency department.” That will give the medical provider a chance to prepare to evaluate you without further spreading the highly contagious disease.
Measles spreads via coughing and sneezing, and the virus can live for “up to two hours in an airspace where the infected person coughed or sneezed.” According to the CDC, measles is so contagious that if one person has it, 90% of the people close to that person who are not immune will also become infected.”