October 11, 2019
Travelers who passed through certain terminals in Philadelphia International Airport earlier this month may have been exposed to measles, Pennsylvania Department of Health officials said Friday.
The state's Department of Health joined the Philadelphia Department of Public Health for a public health alert, warning of "possible exposure" to the disease for travelers who visited the airport on Oct. 2 and Oct. 3.
The possible exposures occurred at these terminals, on these times and dates, according to Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine:
• Wednesday, Oct. 2: Terminal F from 6:30 p.m. to 12:00 a.m.
• Thursday, Oct. 3: Terminal F from 4:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m.
• Thursday, Oct. 3: Terminal A from 8:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.
• Thursday, Oct. 3: Terminal A/B shuttle bus from 8:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.
"An individual with a suspected case of measles was present in the Philadelphia International Airport on two days and may have exposed many individuals," Levine said in a release Friday. "The Department of Health is working with the county and municipal health departments to notify Pennsylvanians who were on flights with the suspected case, but other individuals may have been exposed at the airport during the identified times."
Levine said anyone who's been properly immunized against measles has a "minimal" risk of getting the disease.
So far this year, 15 cases of measles have been confirmed in Pennsylvania, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nationwide, more than 1,200 cases have been reported, the highest number since 1992.
Measles is considered by medical professionals to be among the most contagious diseases in the world. According to Dr. John Russell, chair of family medicine at Abington-Jefferson Health, a person with measles will infect 16 to 19 others, on average. For a comparison, Russell said someone with the flu only will infect 2 other people.
Symptoms of measles include high fever, cough, rash, runny nose, and red or watery eyes, according to the CDC, and symptoms may begin to show after two or three days. The CDC considers measles potentially dangerous for babies and young children.