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Virginia health officials warn travelers out of Dulles and Reagan airports of potential measles exposure

Measles, chickenpox cases on the rise
Vaccine hesitancy sparks measles, chickenpox rise 04:58

Health officials are asking recent travelers out of two D.C. airports to proceed with caution after they may have potentially been exposed to measles

The Virginia Department of Health put out a news release Saturday saying it was aware of a person with a confirmed case of measles who recently traveled through Northern Virginia after returning from an overseas trip. 

The potential exposure has been linked to the international arrivals area of the main terminal at Dulles International Airport between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. local time on Jan. 3, and Terminal A at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport between 2:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 4, the agency said.

Health officials are working to identify anyone who may have been exposed, including passengers on specific flights, officials said. 

"Anyone who was exposed and is at risk of developing measles should watch for symptoms until January 25, 2024," health officials warned. "If you notice the symptoms of measles, immediately isolate yourself by staying home and away from others."

"Contact your healthcare provider right away," officials said."Call ahead before going to your healthcare provider's office or the emergency room to notify them that you may have been exposed to measles and ask them to call the health department. This will help protect other patients and staff."

Measles is highly contagious and is primarily spread through respiratory droplets from an infected person, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explains. The virus can be airborne for up to two hours after someone with measles has been in the area. Anyone who has not already had measles or gotten the vaccine can become infected.

Symptoms usually appear within one to two weeks after infection and can include a fever, cough, runny nose, rash, and red watery eyes or pinkeye.

The case in Virginia is the latest potential measles outbreak in the last month. 

New Jersey health officials this weekend confirmed a Camden County resident had a case of measles and said they were working on contact tracing to locate the source of the infection.

CBS News Philadelphia has reported on a measles outbreak in Philadelphia that health officials say has resulted in infections of eight people so far.

On Dec. 29, 2023, around 20 to 30 people were potentially exposed to measles at Nemours Children's Hospital in Delaware after coming into contact with a person who was "not symptomatic but was infectious at the time of their visit to the facility," according to the Delaware Department of Health. 

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