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Measles alert issued for anyone who traveled through Chicago O'Hare airport

Measles alert issued for anyone who traveled through Chicago O'Hare airport
Posted at 4:23 PM, Jan 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-15 19:50:45-05

CHICAGO, Ill. — A measles alert was issued Monday, four days after a passenger diagnosed with the highly contagious virus traveled through the Chicago O'Hare International Airport. 

According to the Illinois Department of Health, somewhere between the hours of 6:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. on January 10, "a passenger on an international flight with a confirmed case of measles arrived in Terminal 5." That person then left the airport on a domestic flight from Terminal 1. 

The statement warned that the passenger "was infectious" that day and "may have traveled to other parts of the airport."

The health department says if you were infected you could develop symptoms as late as January 31, 2018. 

Symptoms of the measles include:

  • rash
  • high fever
  • cough
  • runny nose
  • red, watery eyes

If you develop symptoms, the health department recommends calling your health care provider before going to a medical office so they can make special arrangements to evaluate you while also protecting other patients and medical staff from possible infection. 

“Two doses of measles vaccine are about 97 percent effective in preventing measles,” said IDPH Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jennifer Layden.  “We urge everyone to make sure they and their family members are up-to-date on measles/mumps/rubella (MMR) vaccine and all other age-appropriate immunizations.  Getting vaccinated not only protects you, it protects others around you who are too young to get the vaccine or can’t receive it for medical reasons.”

Measles, also known as rubeola, is a disease that first shows up as a high fever, cough, runny nose and red, watery eyes. Three to five days after those symptoms occur, a telltale rash breaks out, beginning on the face and spreading downward, according to the Centers for Disease Control. 

Measles is highly contagious -- it can live for two hours in the airspace where the infected person coughed or sneezed. According to the CDC, it's so contagious that if one person has it, 90 percent of the people close to that person who are not immune will also become infected.

For more information about measles, click here.

Earlier this month, an alert was sent out after a female student at IU Bloomington was diagnosed with the measles. The student, who is a resident at McNutt Residence Hall, arrived on campus January 2.