Travelers who were at the Newark Liberty International Airport on Christmas Eve might have been exposed to measles. The New Jersey Department of Health issued a release saying that an international traveler was confirmed to have the disease. The health department’s notice about the possible exposure was also posted on Twitter and retweeted by Newark airport.
The traveler arrived at Terminal B on a flight from Brussels and may have traveled to other sections of Newark Airport. The flyer was highly contagious. Health department officials say that any person at the airport between the hours of 12 and 4 p.m. on Christmas Eve could’ve been exposed to the disease.
According to the release from the health department, it could take until January 14 for any infected travelers to develop the symptoms of a measles infection. In addition to the telltale rash, the symptoms of the infection include a high fever and a runny nose. The disease is easily spread through the mucus and saliva from an infected person and can be spread through the air when someone coughs or sneezes.
In rare cases, the disease can be life threatening. Unvaccinated individuals have the highest risk of infection. Those who believe they have been exposed should call their doctor before going into an emergency room to prevent more spreading.
New Jersey’s state epidemiologist, Dr. Christina Tan, is urging all residents to stay up to date with vaccine and immunizations. In a statement, Tan said, “Anyone who has not been vaccinated or has not had measles is at risk if they are exposed. We urge everyone to check to make sure they and their family members are up to date on measles/mumps/rubella (MMR) vaccine and all other age-appropriate immunizations.”
New Jersey is already dealing with an ongoing outbreak of measles. In that case, a New Jersey resident who returned from a trip to Israel started an outbreak that infected 33 people in Ocean County and Passaic County. Health officials also say that this latest measles case is not related to that one.