Saturday, February 26, 2011

Passenger didn't know she had measles, may have infected others

DENVER -- Passengers and employees who visited Concourse C at Denver International Airport this Tuesday may have been exposed to measles, state health officials said on Friday.

According to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, a 27-year-old New Mexico woman unknowingly infected with measles arrived at Gate C39 at about 9 p.m. Tuesday and stayed in the area for two hours.

"This is not difficult to transmit, particularly in a concourse, in an airport," says Urgent Care physician Rafer Leach.

Measles is a highly contagious viral disease which is easily spread through coughing, sneezing and secretions from the mouth. It can remain in the air for a couple hours Early symptoms of measles are fever, runny nose, cough, and red, watery eyes. “Usually, one to four days after the early symptoms, a red rash appears on the face and spreads to the rest of the body. A person with measles is contagious beginning four days before the rash appears,” the department said.

Health officials urge anyone who was working or traveling through Concourse C at DIA on Tuesday after 9 p.m. to monitor themselves for early symptoms from March 1 through March 12.

Measles develops seven to 18 days after exposure. If symptoms develop, contact your health care provider or local health department. The Centers for Disease Control is expected to notify everyone aboard the two flights, which includes around 200 people.

The unidentified woman had just returned had just returned from a trip overseas.

The last case of measles in a Colorado resident was in 2006. Before that, the state had one case in 2004 and two cases in 2000.

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