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Contagious Measles Patients Pass Through LAX, May Have Exposed Others

Three children with measles pass through Terminal 4

By Staff Writer

Three children with measles passed through LAX earlier this month and health officials are warning that others may be at risk for exposure.

On December 16, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) announced they are investigating three non-resident measles cases that traveled through Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) while infectious and that they are also looking to identify others who are at risk for measles and may have been exposed to these three individuals.

According to Public Health, the three individuals passed through LAX Terminal 4 on December 11 between 6:50 a.m. and 12 p.m.

“Other people may have been exposed to measles since a public location was visited by the person with measles while infectious,” Public Health said.

Anyone who may have been at these locations on these dates during these timeframes may be at risk of developing measles for up to 21 days after being exposed and 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 19 measles cases among Los Angeles County residents in 2019, in addition to 11 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.

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