Travelers warned of possible measles exposure at Chicago’s O’Hare airport

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CHICAGO – A passenger arriving on an international flight Wednesday at Chicago's O'Hare airport may have exposed some people in the airport to measles, said health officials.

While they stress there is no current risk to the public, the Illinois Department of Public Health said in a statement that anyone inside O’Hare between 6:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. on January 10 may have been exposed to the measles virus.

On January 10, the passenger on the international flight with a contagious case of the measles arrived in O'Hare's Terminal 5 and traveled through Terminal 1, possibly in addition to other areas of the airport, officials said.

The passenger was diagnosed with measles after arriving in his home state. Soon afterwards, the Centers for Disease Control learned of the case and contacted passengers who sat next to the passenger during his journey. Health agencies are now working to inform others who were inside O'Hare on January 10 that they may have been exposed.

"If you weren’t at O'Hare on January 10, there’s no concern and, even if you were, the risk was very, very low and, even if you’ve been vaccinated, it’s next to nothing,” said CDPH Chief Medial Officer Dr. Allison Arwady.

Since the vaccine that protects people from measles is a standard childhood vaccine, travelers who received it as a child are generally protected. But, if you have not been vaccinated or you were traveling with small children that day, you should check in with your doctor, officials said.

If you were exposed to measles, symptoms could come on as late as January 31 and include rash, high fever, cough, runny nose and red, watery eyes. If you think you have it, do not go to the doctor’s office right away; call first, so you don’t infect anyone else.

The Chicago Department of Public Health said there is no current risk for travelers coming into or out of O'Hare and they do not expect an outbreak but it's a good reminder to make sure you and your children have all your vaccinations.


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