Los Angeles County confirms measles case, person passing through Los Angeles Airport, amid rising infection rates in the US

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Los Angeles County confirmed its first case of measles since 2020, which involved a resident who traveled internationally in late January.

The infected person, whose age and identity were not revealed, traveled on a Turkish Airlines flight from Istanbul to Los Angeles International Airport on January 25 at 5 p.m., and since the disease is highly contagious and its particles remain in the air for hours, he was taken to the hospital. The county public health department said New release Thursday that anyone who was in Terminal B, between 5 and 9 p.m. PT that day, may have been exposed to the sick traveler. Local health officials said they were working with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to notify passengers who were sitting near the person on the plane.

The California patient is the latest in a string of recent measles cases across the country that prompted the CDC to issue an alert last week for health providers to check for the disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the highly contagious virus is often contracted by young people eligible for the vaccine who did not receive it before traveling abroad. Measles cases are also on the rise globally.

The virus can cause serious problems and can be fatal in people who have not been vaccinated or have immunity to it.

“Measles is spread through the air and through direct contact even before you know you have it and can lead to severe illness,” Dr. Monto Davis, Los Angeles County health officer, said in a statement.

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After leaving the airport, the infected person then went to a Chick-Fil-A in Northridge, California, between 8 and 10:30 p.m., health officials said. The Department of Public Health continues to investigate other areas the person visited.

Initial symptoms, which usually appear one or two weeks after exposure, include high temperature, runny nose and cough, followed by a hyperpigmented or red rash at the hairline that moves down the person’s body. About one in 1,000 people infected with measles develops brain swelling, and one to three in 1,000 die, according to the CDC.

Los Angeles health officials urged anyone who was in close proximity to the infected person during relevant periods to review their immunizations and medical records to ensure they have received the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine. People who are pregnant, have a baby, or have a compromised or no immune system should contact their health care provider. If symptoms appear, officials said people should stay home and contact a health care provider before visiting a hospital or clinic, so officials there can be properly prepared.

Los Angeles County had its last five measles cases in 2020, and 20 outbreaks in 2019. Most were in people who were not immunized, did not know if they had been immunized before, or had previously had measles.

Report for the academic year 2021-22 prepared by California State It found that about 96.7% of Los Angeles County kindergartners received the full MMR vaccine series. the National vaccine coverage Among kindergarteners, it was 93.1% in 2022-23, leaving about 250,000 kindergartners at risk of contracting the disease.

Eduardo Cuevas covers health and breaking news for USA TODAY. It can be reached at EMCuevas1@usatoday.com.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: The first case of measles in Los Angeles since 2020 was in a traveler passing through Los Angeles Airport

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