Measles may have been spread at Dulles

Posted: June 19, 2013

The Winchester Star

LEESBURG — People visiting Washington Dulles International Airport on June 7 may have been exposed to measles, according to the Loudoun County Health Department (LCHD).

According to a news release from the LCHD, travelers at Concourse A or B in the International Arrivals Building or in the Baggage Claim level of the Main Terminal from 6 to 9 p.m. may have been exposed to a person with measles.

Dr. David Goodfriend, LCHD director, said in a phone interview Tuesday that the Virginia Department of Health notified his department of the exposure during the weekend.

“We don’t know everyone who could have been at the airport during that period,” he said. “When we are able to identify all potential contacts, we will contact them directly.”

Goodfriend said the person who had measles apparently did everything possible to prevent spreading the infection.

Measles is a highly contagious illness that can be spread through coughing, sneezing and contact with secretions from the nose, mouth and throat of an infected individual, according to the LCHD.

Symptoms usually appear in two stages. In the first stage, most people have a fever of in excess of 101 degrees, a runny nose, watery red eyes and a cough. The second stage begins around the third to seventh day when a rash begins to appear on the face and spreads over the entire body, according to the news release.

“Based on the date of exposure, we have determined that if you were infected with measles, you may develop symptoms as late as Friday, June 28,” the release states.

“Measles is easily preventable through safe and effective MMR vaccine. The best protection against future measles cases is the on-time vaccination of all susceptible persons.”

Measles cases and outbreaks typically are not common due to the increase in vaccinations in recent decades, according to Goodfriend.

“Fortunately, because a large majority of people get vaccinated, the number of severe infections has gone down dramatically,” he said.

Goodfriend added that he was not aware of any measles cases in Virginia in 2012; seven were reported in 2011; three in 2010; and one each in 2009 and 2008.

Additional information about measles is available at www.vdh.virginia.gov/Epidemiology/factsheets/pdf/Measles.pdf. The LCHD can be contacted by calling 571-233-7317.

— Contact Matt Armstrong atmarmstrong@winchesterstar.com