KEY POINTS

  • The child got infected during an international trip
  • Virginia authorities have provided the times and locations of potential exposure sites
  • Unvaccinated people who may have been exposed should look out for symptoms

Virginia health authorities are warning people of possible measles exposure at some locations following a confirmed case.

Health authorities in northern Virginia are notifying people that they may have been exposed to someone who was diagnosed with measles, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) noted in a news release. The reported patient is an unvaccinated child who got measles during an international trip and is now "in stable condition."

Measles is one of the most contagious diseases in the world, and it can be spread through coughing, sneezing or contact with infected secretions. It is so contagious that 90% of people who aren't immune to measles can get infected if they are exposed to someone who has it, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The virus is also able to remain "active and contagious" in the air or on infected surfaces for up to two hours, noted the World Health Organization (WHO).

The VDH has listed the locations, dates and times that are associated with the possible exposure "out of an abundance of caution" – Kaiser Permanente Ashburn Medical Center, Loudoun County, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., May 13; Inova Fairfax Hospital–Pediatric and Adult Emergency Departments from 5.30 p.m., May 15 to 2 a.m., May 16 and 5 p.m. to 11.30 pm., May 16.

"Outside of these specific locations and times, it is currently believed that the risk to the community is low," noted VDH.

Unvaccinated people who were at these locations at the specific time may be at risk of getting measles. They should contact their healthcare provider and be on alert for possible symptoms. Those with symptoms should avoid contact with others and call a hospital or clinic before going there.

People who have had one shot of the vaccine are "likely" protected and have a "very low" risk of infection, though they are being advised to get the second dose. Those who may have been at these locations but have had two doses of the Measles-Mumps-Rubella vaccine (MMR) or a measles-only vaccine are said to be "protected" and don't need any further action.

"The measles vaccine has been in use for nearly 60 years," noted the WHO. "It is safe, effective and inexpensive."

Those with questions or who may have been exposed can contact the Fairfax call center at 202-851-9616 or the Loudoun County call center at 703-737-8300.

measles A measles poster is seen at Venice Family Clinic in Los Angeles, California Feb. 5, 2015. Photo: Reuters