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News >  Washington

Possible measles exposure at Sea-Tac Airport, Seattle Children’s, officials warn

UPDATED: Tue., Feb. 22, 2022

Seattle Children’s Hospital’s main campus is on Sand Point Way in the Laurelhurst neighborhood of Seattle. A possible measles exposure may have occurred Sunday in the the emergency room lobby of the children’s hospital.  (Bettina Hansen/Seattle Times)
Seattle Children’s Hospital’s main campus is on Sand Point Way in the Laurelhurst neighborhood of Seattle. A possible measles exposure may have occurred Sunday in the the emergency room lobby of the children’s hospital. (Bettina Hansen/Seattle Times)
By Amanda Zhou Seattle Times

Public health officials announced on Monday a measles infection in a Snohomish County infant who recently returned to Washington after traveling in South Asia.

The Snohomish Health District is continuing to monitor the health status of the exposed family and is warning of a possible public exposure before the diagnosis.

The department said people may have been exposed at:

  • The Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on Saturday , between 11:45 a.m. and 2:45 p.m.
  • The emergency room lobby of Seattle Children’s hospital on Sunday, between 12:34 a.m. and 2:49 a.m.

Snohomish health officials, Public Health – Seattle & King County and the state Department of Health have been contacting the two locations to alert them of the potential exposures, according to a Monday news release.

Measles is highly contagious. Symptoms include fever, rash, cough and red, watery eyes, and can begin seven to 21 days after exposure. The disease is primarily spread through the air.

People who were at the two locations during the listed times are advised to promptly call a health care provider if they get a fever or illness with an unexplained rash between now and March 12. To avoid the potential of spreading measles to others, people should not go to a clinic or hospital without calling first to notify about a measles concern.

According to the Snohomish Health District, most people in the Puget Sound area are vaccinated against measles. People are also considered immune if they were born before 1957, have a blood test result showing immunity to measles or have previously been diagnosed with measles.

Measles are relatively rare in Snohomish County and Washington state. In the last five years, Snohomish County confirmed seven other measles cases – one in 2019 and six in 2018.

In 2019, Washington state saw a measles outbreak with 71 confirmed cases after a child traveled to Clark County from Ukraine. The outbreak primarily affected children between the ages of 1 and 18. Only 4% of those cases were among fully vaccinated individuals, according to the county health department.

According to local health officials, small clusters of cases often occur after an individual travels from another country where measles is more common. Larger outbreaks occur if the virus enters a network with low vaccination.

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