• 3-4 million individuals are infected annually
  • 50% of measles cases are below age 6
  • 90% had measles by age 15
  • Highest incidence of measles was among 5-9-year-old children
  • In 0.2% cases, death is reported

Public health officials have been warning people in Denver and Los Angeles who passed via airports in these two cities that they might have been exposed to measles.

Measles, for starters, is an extremely contagious viral infection that can spread up to 90% of the people who were surrounding an infected individual. This is why health departments have been warning the general population while there is a known exposure.

With the re-circulation of air being a major issue to people on board, it can make airplanes a favorable place for the disease to spread, especially when there’s an exposure to something malicious. “According to health experts, a case or outbreak this time of year isn't surprising, given the high rate of travel,” Covering Colorado mentioned.

Health officials have been reaching out to passengers who boarded the same flights taken by the infected individuals. They are also urging everyone who were present in these two airports during these times to watch themselves and their loved ones for measles symptoms, especially those individuals with weakened immune systems and pregnant women.

Times of concern

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) Terminals 4 & 5 - 3 infected travelers passed through between 6.50 am and noon on Dec. 11.

Denver International Airport (DIA) - 3 children who were sick traveled on Dec. 11 between 1:15 and 5:45 p.m took the train to baggage claim, west baggage claim and west level 4 pickup areas.

The following day, the children were rushed to the emergency room at Children’s Hospital Colorado Anschutz Campus in Aurora where they might have been exposed to measles virus. Since the children were not vaccinated against measles virus, they might have caught the disease when they visited a country where there was a measles outbreak.

Symptoms to watch out for include fever, cough, red, watery eyes and, importantly, the telltale rash. Seek medical help immediately if you feel sick.

Measles vaccine is the need of the hour

Physicians are urging everyone, particularly those traveling abroad to get vaccinated against the measles virus which is the only effective method of prevention. Also, babies who are traveling are allowed to get vaccinated ahead of their schedules since babies and young children are the most vulnerable ones to measles outbreak, Medscape Medical News said.

107 people contracted measles from 21 states in the United States, between Jan. 1 and July 14 this year. In this photo, an incoming kindergartner reacts to a Measles, Mumps and Rubella vaccination (MMR) as his father tries to comfort him in Santa Ana, California, Aug. 26, 2002. Getty Images/ David McNew