CDC: Measles Cases at Airport Highlight Ease of Transmission

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CDC: Measles Cases at Airport Highlight Ease of Transmission
CDC: Measles Cases at Airport Highlight Ease of Transmission

FRIDAY, Dec. 19, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Traveling through the same U.S. airport gate, one infected passenger transmitted the measles virus to three others within a four-hour time span, illustrating just how easily the virus can spread. These findings were reported in the Dec. 19 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The measles "cluster" of cases originated at one gate at an unnamed U.S. international airport, according to the report. Transmission likely occurred on Jan. 17. The gate in question was located in a terminal that only serviced domestic flights.

The first patient outlined in the report was a 21-year-old man. He developed a measles rash on Feb. 1 and had traveled on two domestic flights that connected at the airport about two weeks beforehand -- on Jan. 17 and 18. Patient 2 was a 49-year-old man who also developed a measles rash on Feb. 1. He had reported traveling from the airport on Jan. 17. A third patient, aged 19, came down with the measles rash on Jan. 30. He said he had spent four hours on a layover in the airport on Jan. 17 as well. Finally, patient 4, a 63-year-old man, developed a measles rash on Feb. 5. He had also traveled through the airport on Jan. 17.

"The exposures in this report were not prolonged and occurred in a domestic rather than an international terminal, highlighting the fact that measles is highly contagious," the authors write. They stressed that measles "continues to pose a risk for infection among unvaccinated persons in the United States." None of the four people infected had been vaccinated.

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