Health officials are urging caution for recent travelers through two D.C. airports due to potential exposure to measles. The Virginia Department of Health has identified a confirmed case of measles in an individual who traveled through Northern Virginia after returning from an overseas trip. The exposure risk is associated with specific locations and times, including the international arrivals area of Dulles International Airport on Jan. 3 and Terminal A at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport on Jan. 4. Officials are actively identifying individuals who may have been exposed, including passengers on specific flights.
Those who may have been exposed are advised to remain vigilant for measles symptoms until January 25, 2024. Measles is highly contagious and primarily spreads through respiratory droplets, remaining airborne for up to two hours. Individuals who have not been vaccinated or previously had measles can become infected. Symptoms typically appear one to two weeks after infection and include fever, cough, runny nose, rash, and red watery eyes.
Health officials emphasize the importance of isolating oneself if symptoms develop and contacting a healthcare provider immediately. Notifying healthcare providers in advance helps protect others and allows for appropriate precautions. This case in Virginia follows recent potential measles outbreaks in New Jersey and Philadelphia, highlighting the ongoing challenges in preventing and managing infectious diseases, particularly in densely populated areas and transportation hubs. Public health measures, including vaccination and contact tracing, play a crucial role in mitigating the spread of measles and other contagious illnesses.