Health officials are warning people who were at Newark Liberty International Airport on Christmas Eve that they have been exposed to measles. An international traveler who arrived at Terminal B on a flight from Brussels on Monday was infected with the highly contagious disease, according to the New Jersey Department of Health.
Officials believe the flyer may have also visited other areas of the airport and anyone who was at the airport from noon to 4 p.m. may have been exposed.
It could take until Jan. 14 for someone who was infected by the passenger to develop symptoms of the measles, which include rash, high fever, cough, runny nose and red, water eyes. In rare cases, complications can be life-threatening.
The disease is easily spread through the air when someone coughs or sneezes, and people can also get sick if they come in contact with mucus or saliva from an infected person. Unvaccinated individuals are the most at risk for infection.
Authorities urge anyone who believes they may have been exposed to the measles to call their doctor before going to see them or visiting an emergency room.
This is the second incident involving the measles in the state this year. An ongoing outbreak in Ocean County has reportedly infected 33 people, according New Jersey Health Commissioner Dr. Shereef Elnahal.
“This confirmed case and exposure are unrelated to the ongoing measles outbreak in Ocean County, which includes 30 Ocean County cases and three Passaic County cases,” Elnahal said in a statement. “Two doses of measles vaccine are about 97 percent effective in preventing measles, so I urge all residents across the state to get vaccinated to protect their health.”