Advertisement

Officials warn of measles exposure at LAX — again

Officials warn of measles exposure at LAX — again
A vial containing the MMR vaccine is loaded into a syringe before being given to a baby at the Medical Arts Pediatric Medical Group on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles. (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

For the second time this month, Los Angeles County public health officials are warning travelers that a person with measles flew into Los Angeles International Airport.

The person arrived at LAX on March 5 and traveled through Los Angeles County while infectious.

Advertisement

“We may continue to see measles cases that travel through L.A. County, so it is important if you or someone you know has been exposed to or has measles to contact your healthcare provider by phone right away before going in,” Dr. Muntu Davis, Los Angeles County Health Officer, said in a statement.

“People who may have been exposed to measles and who have not been immunized, may receive measles immunization and be protected from developing the disease. Getting immunized is the best way to keep from getting and spreading measles.”

The passenger’s flight, United Airlines flight 240, came from Newark Liberty International Airport — where New Jersey health officials issued a warning earlier this week of a person who flew into Newark on March 4 from Aruba and left for California. Passengers were warned that the exposure to measles lasted from March 4 at 9 p.m. to March 5 at 9:30 a.m.

Los Angeles public health officials said the case is not known to be related to the measles case announced last week, when officials warned travelers of a passenger who had a layover at LAX on Feb. 21 who was diagnosed with measles. Officials didn’t say where that person traveled to or from, but that they arrived on a China Eastern Airlines flight.

There is no known current risk of measles at LAX, officials said. But the two cases this month seem to be part of a larger trend.

Measles outbreaks related to unvaccinated international travelers have been reported in New York, Washington, Texas, Illinois and California, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In New York City, there have been 181 confirmed cases of measles in Brooklyn and Queens since October, according to the most recently available data from the city’s health department. Most of these cases have involved members of the Orthodox Jewish community.

The initial child with measles was unvaccinated and acquired measles on a visit to Israel, where a large measles outbreak is occurring. Since then, there have been more people from Brooklyn and Queens who were unvaccinated and acquired measles while in Israel, according to the city’s health department. People who did not travel were also infected in Brooklyn or Rockland County, where there is also a measles outbreak occurring.

In California this year, three cases were linked to a patient with international travel, according to the California Department of Public Health.

Measles is a highly contagious disease caused by a virus. It spreads through coughing and sneezing. It can be prevented with the MMR vaccine, which protects against measles, mumps and rubella.

The vaccine is safe and effective. Two doses of the MMR vaccine are about 97% effective at preventing measles; one dose is about 93% effective, according to the CDC.

Advertisement
Advertisement