Three measles patients traveled through Los Angeles International Airport while contagious and may have exposed others to the virus, health officials said Monday.
Authorities are looking to identify others who may have caught measles after the travelers walked through terminals 4 and 5 at LAX on Dec. 11, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health said in a news release.
Anyone who was at the terminals between 6:50 a.m. and 12 p.m. that day is at risk of developing measles for up to 21 days after being exposed, health officials said.
Health officials told those were there at the time to review their immunization and medical records to determine if they’re protected against measles, and to talk to their doctors if they haven’t been immunized.
Pregnant women, infants and those with weakened immune systems should contact and notify their health care provider as soon as possible, the department said.
Symptoms usually appear 7 to 21 days after exposure and include a fever, an unexplained rash, coughing and red, watery eyes.
Those who experience symptoms should stay home and call their doctor immediately, health officials said.
“Public Health urges residents, especially those who travel internationally and those who have not been fully protected against measles, to get the measles immunization in order to better protect their individual health and to prevent the spread of measles to others,” the department said in the news release.
The disease is considered among the most contagious viruses in the world. About 90% of people who have never been immunized experience the symptoms soon after exposure, authorities said.
There have been 20 measles cases among L.A. County residents in 2019 and another 14 among non-residents who traveled through the county. Most of those infected so far haven’t been immunized or did not know whether they had been, according to county health officials.
All three patients reported Monday were not L.A. County residents.
Last year, more than 140,000 people died from measles across the globe, with most deaths being among children younger than 5, according to a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report.
Los Angeles County provides free or low-cost measles immunizations for those who are uninsured or underinsured. Clinics offering the vaccine can be found online or by calling 211.