TUCSON, Ariz. (FOX 10) -- An out-of-state visitor with measles traveled to Arizona and may have exposed the public to the disease.
Officials from the Arizona Department of Health Services and the Pima County Public Health Department say the person was potentially contagious and traveled to Tucson between April 17 and 29. The traveler was at Tucson International Airport on April 29 between 6:00 a.m. and 10:40 a.m.
"Measles is a serious and highly contagious disease that can spread quickly, so if you or your child are not vaccinated against the disease and you were at the Tucson International Airport, there is a risk of getting measles," said Dr. Cara Christ, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services. "If you develop signs of measles, including high fever, cough, runny nose, red watery eyes, or a rash, stay home and call your healthcare provider so you can schedule a time to be seen. They will let you know when to visit their office so as not to expose others in the waiting area. If you do not have a health care provider, you may need to be seen at your local hospital emergency room or urgent care center. Please call before going to let them know you may have measles."
Measles typically begins with a high fever (101°F or higher), and several days later a characteristic rash appears on the face and then spreads over the body. Among serious complications, 1 in 20 patients get pneumonia, and 1 in 1,000 get brain swelling that can lead to seizures, deafness or intellectual disability.
Measles is spread by coughing or sneezing, and someone can spread the virus for four days before the telltale rash appears, warned Dr. Anthony Fauci, infectious disease chief at the National Institutes of Health. The virus can live for up to two hours in the air or on nearby surfaces. Nine of 10 unvaccinated people who come into contact with someone with measles will catch it. Fauci called it "one of the most contagious viruses known to man."
"We are working closely with local, state and out-of-state public health partners to make sure we quickly identify any possible exposures that may have occurred while this person was visiting Pima County," said Marcy Flanagan, director of the Pima County Health Department. "As we see more cities and counties in the United States experience cases of vaccine-preventable diseases like measles, it is of the utmost importance that we continue our work to prevent that from happening in Pima County."
Per ADHS, you are immune to measles if you have received two doses of the Measles-Mumps-Rubella vaccines or were born before 1957 and have received one MMR vaccine. Health care providers are required to report suspected cases of measles to their local health department.
Arizona Dept. of Health Services Measles Information:
The Associated Press contributed to this report.