Travel Health Alert: Potential Measles Exposure at O’Hare International Airport

If you were at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago on Wednesday, January 10, 2018 between the hours of 6:30 in the morning and 1:00 in the afternoon Central Standard Time and you have not been vaccinated against contracting measles, you are advised to contact a health care provider and be tested for the highly contagious disease as soon as possible.

Travel Health Alert: Potential Measles Exposure at O’Hare International Airport

A passenger who was confirmed with measles and was “infectious on that day, may have traveled to other areas of the airport’’ landed at Terminal 5 — which is also known as the international terminal — and departed on a domestic flight from Terminal 1, according to this official statement which was released from the Illinois Department of Public Health. The passenger in question left the airplane after having traveled on an international flight prior to boarding another airplane for a domestic flight.

If you have been infected, you could develop the symptoms for measles as late as Wednesday, January 31, 2018 — including rash, high fever, cough, runny nose and red, watery eyes. “If you develop symptoms of measles, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) recommends you call a health care provider before going to a medical office or emergency department. Special arrangements can be made for your evaluation while also protecting other patients and medical staff from possible infection.”

If left untreated, measles can cause serious complications — such as pneumonia and encephalitis, which is swelling of the brain. Measles is easily spread through the air when someone coughs or sneezes. People can also get sick when they come in contact with mucus or saliva from an infected person.

As to whether or not you can get the measles if you have already been vaccinated, “It’s possible, but unlikely”, according to this article written by Priya Sampathkumar — who is a medical doctor — for the Mayo Clinic. “The combination measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine is a two-dose vaccine series that protects against the measles, mumps and rubella viruses. More than 93 percent of people who receive the first dose of MMR develop immunity to measles. After the second dose, 97 percent of people are protected.”


Fortunately, most people are routinely vaccinated for measles during their childhood years and are not at high risk. Of most concern are people who have not been vaccinated for the disease; so if you were at the airport in Chicago this past Wednesday and have never had the vaccine for measles — or even if you are not completely sure — please err on the side of caution and take the appropriate aforementioned precautions.

Visit the official Internet web site of the Illinois Department of Public Health for additional information pertaining to measles — or you can contact your health provider…

…or you can also find out more about measles at the following Internet web sites:

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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