King County health officials announced Wednesday they’re investigating a new confirmed measles case in a child, with possible exposures at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.
The highly-contagious infection was likely acquired while the child was traveling outside the United States, according to a Wednesday statement from Public Health — Seattle & King County. Before the child was diagnosed with measles, he had been near Gate N-11 and Carousel 13 in the baggage claim on Nov. 5.
Health officials are advising anyone who was in that area from 10 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. that day — which includes up to two hours after the child was in the area — that they could have been exposed to measles, the statement said.
“Most people in our area have immunity to the measles through vaccination, so the risk to the general public is low,” the statement said.
However, health officials added, anyone who was in the area should find out if they’ve been vaccinated for measles and make sure they’re up to date with the recommended number of vaccinations. They’re also advising people who might have been exposed to call their health care provider if they develop a fever or “unexplained rash.”
“Measles outbreaks continue to circulate in many areas of the world,” said county health officer Jeff Duchin in the statement. “As long as people travel, no community is safe from measles introductions.”
He reminded the public the measles vaccine is “safe, effective and offers excellent protection.”
“During our COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important to stay up-to-date on all scheduled vaccinations for children, so we don’t lose important community protections against other serious infections,” Duchin said.
Measles is a “highly contagious and potentially severe disease that causes fever, rash, cough, and red, watery eyes,” the statement said. “It mainly spreads through the air after a person with measles coughs or sneezes.” The disease is contagious about four days before the rash appears.
King County health officials battled a measles outbreak last spring that infected at least five people within a month.
For more information about measles and vaccinations, go to www.kingcounty.gov/measles.