Measles Investigation

 Hobby Airport File Photo

The Houston Health Department (HHD) is contacting passengers who may have been exposed to the measles virus at Hobby Airport.  The city health department is investigating the measles case that involved a North Texas resident who recently connected flights in Houston.

The health department says the North Texas resident was contagious at the time and had connecting flights at Hobby Airport on August 21 and 22. The traveler did not leave the airport or visit any airport restaurants or places. The North Texas patient stayed only in the waiting area for about an hour each day.

Measles is a highly contagious virus that lives in the nose and throat of an infected person. Coughing and sneezing spreads the virus. Measles is prevented by vaccination.

“People at the airport are at a much lower risk of exposure than passengers on the flights with the patient,” said Dr. David Persse, Houston Health Department Local Health Authority. “That’s why our focus is on directly contacting the passengers to notify them of the risk, inquire about their vaccination status, and make sure they monitor for symptoms and seek medical attention if necessary.”

The health department says measles symptoms include rash, high fever, cough, runny nose and red, watery eyes. Anyone who has these symptoms should contact their medical doctor.

Passengers exposed to this traveler may develop symptoms as late as September 12, 2018.

Measles vaccinations for children are recommended. Children get two doses of measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine, starting with the first dose at 12 to 15 months of age, and the second dose at 4 through 6 years of age. Two doses of the vaccine are 97% effective against measles, according to the health department.

“This serves as a reminder about the importance of proper vaccination,” Dr. Persse said. “The vaccine is safe and effective.”

The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) is coordinating the measles investigation.

Source: Houston Health Department

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