LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) is investigating three non-resident measles cases that traveled through Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) while infectious and is also looking to identify others who are at risk for measles and may have been exposed to these persons. 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.
Other people may have been exposed to measles since a public location was visited by the person with measles while infectious. The potential public exposure location, day and times were as follows:
December 11, 2019, LAX Airport, Terminal 4 and 5, 6:50 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
There is no known current risk related to measles that exists at this venue at this time.
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. People who were in the location above around the same time should:
Review their immunization and medical records to determine if they are protected against measles. People who have not had measles infection previously or received the measles immunization may not be immune and should talk with a health care provider about receiving measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) immunization.
Contact and notify their health care provider as soon as possible about a potential exposure if they are pregnant, an infant, have a weakened immune system and/or are unimmunized.
Monitor themselves for illness with fever and/or an unexplained rash from 7 days to 21 days after their exposure (the time period when symptoms may develop); if symptoms develop, stay at home and call a healthcare provider immediately.
Currently, there have been 20 measles cases among Los Angeles County residents in 2019, in addition to 14 non-resident measles cases that traveled through Los Angeles County (excluding Long Beach and Pasadena as cases identified in those cities are reported by their local health departments). The majority of cases to date were unimmunized or did not know whether they had ever been immunized.
“For those who are not protected, measles is a highly contagious and potentially severe disease that initially causes fever, cough, red, watery eyes, and, finally, a rash,” said Muntu Davis, MD, MPH, Los Angeles County Health Officer. “Measles is spread by air and by direct contact even before you know have it. The MMR immunization is a very effective measure to protect yourself and to prevent the unintentional spread of this potentially serious infection to others.”
Additional cases and exposures may occur here related to returning travelers, especially returning international travelers who are not already protected against measles. Travelers taking domestic trips should follow the general Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) vaccination recommendations. Those traveling internationally should ensure they have received two doses and consider the expedited schedule for infants less than 12 months old.
Measles is considered among the most contagious viruses in the world. About 90% of people who have never been immunized against measles become ill 7-21 days after exposure. Infected people can infect those around them before they have symptoms and know they are infected. Common symptoms of measles include fever, cough, runny nose, conjunctivitis (red eyes) and a rash which usually appears 10 to 21 days after the exposure. The measles virus can be transmitted from one person to another up to 4 days before the onset of rash. Individuals should contact their healthcare provider by phone before going in if they develop measles symptoms, so measures can be taken to prevent possible spread to others in the provider’s waiting room. They should also tell their doctor or other healthcare provider if they traveled internationally or had international visitors in the last 21 days or had exposure to another person with measles.
Public Health interviews all persons with measles in the county to identify who may have come in contact with them, in order to try to prevent further spread of measles. Public Health communicates with health care providers, health plans, local governments, schools, and elected officials to provide updates on the measles outbreak and actions they can take to help prevent the spread of measles and support the countywide response.
Measles immunizations are available at healthcare providers, local pharmacy or health clinic. Public Health clinics offer no or low-cost immunizations for individuals who are uninsured or underinsured. To find a nearby Public Health clinic, call 2-1-1 or visit http: //publichealth.lacounty.gov/media/measles or call 2-1-1.
The Department of Public Health is committed to promoting health equity and ensuring optimal health and well-being for all 10 million residents of Los Angeles County. Through a variety of programs, community partnerships and services, Public Health oversees environmental health, disease control, and community and family health. Nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health comprises nearly 4,500 employees and has an annual budget of $1.2 billion. To learn more about Los Angeles County Public Health, please visit www.publichealth.lacounty.gov, and follow LA County Public Health on social media at twitter.com/lapublichealth, facebook.com/lapublichealth, instagram.com/lapublichealth and youtube.com/lapublichealth.