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Newark Airport: Measles exposure reported

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A measles outbreak is spreading across a Washington county known for choosing not to vaccinate its children, and health officials have declared a public health emergency.
USA TODAY

A traveler at Newark Liberty International Airport may have exposed other people to measles on March 4, officials said.

The infected passenger was at Terminal C traveling to California and may have visited other parts of the airport, according to the New Jersey Department of Health. He traveled from Aruba to Newark. 

Anyone who was at the airport between March 4 at 9 p.m. and March 5 at 9:30 a.m. may have been exposed. Symptoms could develop as late as March 26.

Symptoms of measles include rash, high fever, cough, runny nose and red, watery eyes. It can also cause swelling in the brain and pneumonia. Measles is spread through the air by coughing or sneezing and by coming into contact with the mucus or saliva of someone who is infected. 

People who think they may have been exposed to the measles should call their health care provider before they go to the doctor or emergency room, in an effort to protect other patients and staff from a possible infection.

“Two doses of measles vaccine are about 97 percent effective in preventing measles,” Dr. Christina Tan, state epidemiologist, said in a press release, “so I urge all residents across the state to get vaccinated to protect their health. Anyone who has not been vaccinated or has not had measles is at risk if they are exposed.

“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.”

In 2019, there have been about 270 individual cases of measles reported in 15 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Email: jongsma@northjersey.com

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