A measles alert has been issued a week after an international college student diagnosed with the highly contagious virus flew from India to Indianapolis with a layover in Newark Liberty International Airport.
“If you were at the [Newark] airport between 6:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m, you may have been exposed to measles, and if infected could develop symptoms as late as January 23,” according to the alert released by the State of New Jersey Department of Health.
The unidentified woman was flying on board United flight 0049 from Mumbai, India to Newark Airport on Jan. 2, New Jersey state health officials and University of Indiana-Bloomington reps confirmed.
After arriving in Newark, the woman then boarded United flight 4808 from Terminal C and arrived at Indianapolis International Airport the same day to the attend the university’s orientation program., university officials said.
A United Airlines rep did not immediately respond to a request for for comment.
The student moved into her on-campus dorm room at the McNutt Residence Hall, but during the next four days, her symptoms worsened and she was then diagnosed and went into “self-isolation,” according to a release by the Univerisity of Indiana-Bloomington.
“We take measles very seriously and ask the public to do the same,” said Dr. Diana Ebling, medical director at the Indiana University Health Center. “We will contact campus and community members who may have been exposed, but we also want our students and staff to review their own immunization history and take appropriate steps.”
Indiana University students are required to be inoculated with two doses of the MMR vaccine, an immunization that fends off measles, mumps and rubella, the university release stated. The university is offering vaccines to anybody who “may have been exposed,” the release states.
Meanwhile, it’s unknown how many potential air travelers from Mumbai to Indianapolis were possibly exposed to the measles.
On Friday, the State of New Jersey Department of Health released an alert informing passengers who were at the airport on Jan. 2 “an international traveler” who was alone being stricken with “a confirmed case of measles—a highly contagious disease.”
The statement suggests the woman was infectious “that day” and “may have traveled to other areas of the airport.”
The agency stated that anybody who may develop measles symptoms to “call a health care provider before going to a medical office or emergency department.”
If someone believes he or she has been exposed to measles, the State of New Jersey Department of Health stressed that “you are at risk if you have not been vaccinated or have not had measles.”
New Jersey epidemiologist Dr. Christina Tan urges anybody to get at least two doses of measles vaccine which she said “are about 97 percent effective in preventing measles.” said
“We urge everyone to check to make sure they and their family members are up-to-date on measles/mumps/rubella (MMR) vaccine and all other age-appropriate immunizations. Getting vaccinated not only protects you, it protects others around you who are too young to get the vaccine or can’t receive it for medical reasons.”