Officials warned of the risk of a measles outbreak after an infected passenger flew last Friday to Chicago International Airport.
The Illinois Department of Public Health warned Thursday that people "may have been exposed to measles" if they were at the airport between 9pm and 9pm. and at midnight on February 22nd.
The department warned that people might not feel the symptoms of the disease until March 20, because of its long incubation period. Experts say the virus can infect people as early as four days before the onset of symptoms.
The disease is spread by air, which can remain contagious until two hours after the departure of an infected person, according to US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Symptoms of measles include high fever, rash, cough, runny nose, and red, watery eyes. There is no specific treatment, although doctors may prescribe medication to alleviate symptoms.
In rare cases, measles can kill. A small percentage of people who suffer – about one in every 1,000 – develop encephalitis, or swelling of the brain, which can lead to long-term brain damage and death.
An Illinois health official said in a statement: "Most people are routinely immunized in their childhood and are not at high risk." The most troubling people are the people who have not not been vaccinated. "
The infected passenger was "unvaccinated and contagious," officials said. The person had arrived from another country where measles is more prevalent, according to the statement, without however specifying which country.
Read more: Measles cases rose 30% last year due to "gaps" in immunization coverage, and experts say it's "deeply worrying"
The passenger traveled to Northwestern Medicine Delnor Hospital on February 24 for treatment, officials said.
They warned that people who were in the hospital may also have been infected.
The said the times during which there was a risk were:
- Between 11:45 am and 2:15 pm on February 24th – specifically in the emergency department.
- Between 4:00 pm and 6:15 am on February 24th. (No specified hospital area.)
- Between 10:00 and 13:00 on February 25th. (No specified hospital area.)
"These are the only known public places in Illinois where exposures have taken place," health officials said.
State and municipal health departments try to warn residents of Illinois who may have been on the passenger's flight.
The department urged people with the symptoms of measles to call their health care provider before seeking treatment in a hospital or clinic so that "special arrangements" can be made "while protecting other patients and patients. medical staff of possible infections ".
"People who think they have been exposed should inform their health care provider of the protection to be adopted prior to vaccination or the need for a vaccination," said IPDH. .
Officials urged people to get vaccinated
Ngozi Ezike, director of the IDPH, said: "Measles is very contagious, but two doses of measles vaccine are 97% effective in preventing measles."
Read more: Passengers on 4 Southwest flights may have been infected with measles – this is what the highly contagious virus does to your body
"We urge everyone to ensure that measles / mumps / rubella (MMR) and all other age-appropriate vaccines are up-to-date for their families and families, especially if you visit other countries where measles is regularly detected, "he said.
"Being vaccinated not only protects you, it also protects people around you who are too young to receive the vaccine or who can not receive it for medical reasons."