L.A. County Reports First Measles Case Since 2020
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health announced the first measles case of the year in the county.
A local resident, who was infectious at the time, traveled through Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) recently.
Arrival and Exposure Locations
The individual arrived on a flight from Turkish Airlines (Flight 009) at the Tom Bradley International Terminal, specifically at Gate 157, on January 25 at 5 p.m.
They also visited a Chick-fil-A on Devonshire Street in Northridge later on. Health officials are warning that anyone who was at the airport terminal or the fast-food restaurant during specific times might be at risk.
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health confirmed the county’s first measles case this year from a resident who traveled through LAX while infectious:
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health confirmed the county’s first measles case this year from a resident who traveled through LAX while infectious. https://t.co/8CEHH16LSc
— NBC Los Angeles (@NBCLA) February 5, 2024
Dr. Muntu Davis, a health officer in L.A. County, stressed that measles spreads through the air and direct contact, even before symptoms are noticeable.
It’s especially dangerous because it’s highly contagious and can cause severe illness, especially in young children and adults with weakened immune systems.
Recent Exposure Concerns
Officials are particularly concerned about people who were at the Chick-fil-A between 8 and 10:30 p.m. on the day of exposure.
They are still looking into other places the infected person may have visited to assess the risk of further spread.
The Significance of This Case
This incident is notable as it marks the first measles case in the county since 2020. Back in 2019, there was a significant outbreak with 20 reported cases, and a smaller number followed in 2020.
Most individuals affected in the past were either not vaccinated or unaware of their vaccination status.
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Symptoms to Watch For
Measles symptoms start with a cough, runny nose, red or watery eyes, and high fever, and can progress to more severe symptoms like spots inside the mouth and a rash that spreads over the body.
It takes about one to two weeks after exposure for symptoms to appear.
The best way to prevent measles is through vaccination. The CDC recommends the MMR vaccine for protection against measles, mumps, and rubella, and the MMRV vaccine, which also covers varicella (chickenpox).
Children should receive two doses, the first between 12-15 months of age and the second between 4-6 years old. For international travel, infants as young as 6 months should receive an MMR dose.
Vaccines are highly effective and available through healthcare providers and some pharmacies. Check your insurance and local health department for more information on getting vaccinated.