New Jersey health officials warn against potential measles exposure at airport

Authorities are sounding the alarm after an airline passenger with measles arrived in terminal B at the Newark Liberty International Airport on a flight from Brussels on Christmas Eve.

New Jersey state health officials believe the measles-plagued flyer may also have visited other areas of the airport.

Health officials are saying anyone who was at Newark Liberty from 12 to 4 p.m. on Monday and has not been vaccinated against measles is at risk.

“Measles is a scary disease,” Dr. Nancy Simpkins, a state medical consultant, said. “It starts with high fever, rash, cough, subsequent pneumonia, sepsis, and ultimately, people can die from measles.”

It could take until Jan. 14 for someone who was infected by the passenger with measles to develop the symptoms.

“The virus can actually live on inanimate objects for up to two hours after exposure, so I think that’s the big hype,” Dr. Simpkins said. “But the truth of the matter is, almost every adult who has gone through there and every child over the age of 18 months has been vaccinated against measles and once vaccinated, always immune.”

New Jersey health officials say this latest measles warning is unrelated to an earlier outbreak this year in the state, which involved 33 people.

Anyone who suspects they may have been exposed to measles is asked to call their healthcare provider before going to a doctor or emergency room, so precautions can be put in place not to infect others.

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