Officials confirm case of measles on person traveling through Sea-Tac Airport last week

Local public health officials have learned of a confirmed case of measles in a contagious traveler who arrived at Sea-Tac airport on July 4, 2013. Measles is a highly contagious and potentially severe disease caused by the measles virus. It is mainly spread through the air after a person with measles coughs or sneezes.

Because most people in our area have immunity to the measles through vaccination, the risk to the general public is low. However, people who were in the same locations at Sea-Tac Airport around the same time as the contagious traveler should be aware of their immunity status, monitor themselves for symptoms, and call a health care provider promptly if they develop an illness with fever or an unexplained rash illness sometime between July 11 and July 25, 2013.

People at highest risk from exposure to measles include those who are unvaccinated, pregnant women, infants under six months of age and those with weakened immune systems.

The contagious traveler flew from Beijing to Seattle on July 4. Persons who were in one of the following areas at Sea-Tac Airport between 12 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. on July 4 were possibly exposed to measles:

  • South Satellite International Terminal Arrival Area
  • Immigration and primary screening
  • Adoption processing
  • Restrooms in the South Satellite
  • Baggage Claim/Customs
  • Train to main terminal
  • Main terminal baggage claim
  • Elevator in Main Terminal to Level 2 parking garage

After arriving in Seattle, the traveler received medical attention and was diagnosed on July 4 and determined to be infectious beginning on July 4. Health authorities in Washington state and at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) were notified. The CDC is following up to notify those on the same flights as the contagious traveler.

About measles

Measles, also known as rubeola, is a highly contagious and usually severe illness that causes fever, rash, cough, and red, watery eyes. The rash begins on the face and spreads to the rest of the body. Fever (often greater than 101° F), cough and other symptoms begin two to four days before the rash appears.

Measles symptoms begin seven to 21 days after the exposure to measles occurred. Measles is contagious from approximately four days before the rash appears through four days after the rash appears. People can spread measles before they have the characteristic measles rash.

For more information about measles, a fact sheet is available in multiple languages

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