Measles alert: Were you at O'Hare on Wednesday?

Health officials say a passenger arriving on an global flight last Wednesday had a contagious case of measles.

Last week, a female college student traveling from Mumbai, India, traveling to Indianapolis International Airport by way of Newark Liberty International Airport, was confirmed to have been diagnosed with measles.

The person, who has not been identified, flew in from another country and landed, then boarded a second flight from Chicago to Little Rock, Arkansas. Anyone who was at the airport during these times is at risk of infection. Symptoms include a rash that starts on the face and neck, a high fever, runny nose, cough and red, watery eyes.

"Measles is a very contagious virus, and it can hang around in the air for up to an hour or two after a person has left", said Dr. Allison Bartlett with University of Chicago Medicine. Individuals who think they have been exposed should check with their health care provider about protection through prior vaccination or the need for vaccination. This means a contaminated traveler could start exhibiting symptoms as late as January 31. It can cause serious complications such as pneumonia and encephalitis (swelling of the brain), according to the statement. "We urge everyone to make sure they and their family members are up-to-date on measles/mumps/rubella (MMR) vaccine and all other age-appropriate immunizations". As of the moment, local health agencies are reaching out to IL residents identified to have been potentially exposed to the measles virus at the airport.

For more information about the disease, go to the Illinois Department of Health's website.

  • Aubrey Nash