PHILADELPHIA—The Philadelphia Department of Public Health is notifying travelers and others who were in the Federal Inspection Area at the Philadelphia International Airport Terminal A West on Friday, May 31, 2024 from 2:50 pm to 6:00pm of a possible measles exposure. The individual with measles was traveling through the airport and is unrelated to the recent measles case from Philadelphia.

Measles is a highly contagious virus. Persons who have measles can spread the virus to others who are not protected against the virus through direct contact with respiratory droplets, or through droplets in the air from coughing and sneezing. The early symptoms of measles are fever, runny nose, cough, and red, puffy eyes, followed by rash. In some people, it can be a very serious infection that leads to pneumonia, brain infection and death.

“We believe there is no threat to the general public associated with this case of measles,” said Dr. Landrus Burress, Director, Division of Disease Control. “We encourage people who were possibly exposed to take action if they are not protected against measles. Many countries, including travel destinations, are experiencing measles outbreaks, so the potential for travel-related measles cases and subsequent outbreaks in the United States has increased. We strongly encourage parents to follow the CDC’s immunization schedule and get their children fully vaccinated as soon as they are able. People planning to travel outside the United States should speak with their doctor about their travel plans and vaccinations needed.”

The MMR vaccine is safe and highly effective and is the best way to avoid serious complications of a vaccine-preventable disease. MMR vaccine is routinely recommended for patients 12–15 months with a second dose given at age 4–6 years. Infants under 12 months are not routinely eligible for vaccine and are not protected. However, infants 6 to 11 months old should receive a dose of MMR vaccine to protect them before traveling internationally. Families who are traveling outside the United States should speak to their infant’s doctor at least 2 weeks before departing for their trip.

The Health Department recommends the following:

  1. Anyone possibly exposed to the measles case at the airport should follow the steps below to determine if you are protected from measles, and symptoms to look out for if you are not protected.
  2. Determine if you are protected against measles. Generally, you are considered protected (immune) if you were:
    • Born before 1957, or
    • Have already had measles, or
    • Have received two doses of measles-containing vaccine (usually given as measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine).
      • Look at your vaccination records or ask your healthcare provider to see if you have already had two doses of this vaccine.

If you are protected from measles, you do not have to do anything. Measles vaccine is extremely effective at preventing measles.

  1. If you are not protected from measles, you should receive a dose of MMR vaccine. Talk to your healthcare provider to learn how you can get this vaccine.
  2. Those who are under 12 months of age, pregnant and not immune, or are immunosuppressed (have a weakened immune system) should consult with their healthcare provider as soon as possible. Management of exposure to measles may be different with these conditions.
  3. Measles is contagious for 4 days before to 4 days after rash starts. If you are not immune and may have been exposed, you could give measles to someone at high risk before developing rash. To prevent that from happening, please wear a mask in indoor public spaces and around anyone who is unvaccinated until 3 weeks after the exposure.
  4. If you are not immune and may have been exposed, and you develop any symptoms through June 21, 2024 that appear like measles, contact your doctor immediately. The early symptoms of measles are fever, runny nose, cough, and puffy, red eyes, followed by rash. Tell your doctor that you may have been exposed to measles. You should also notify your local health department (Philadelphia: 215-685-6740) or the state health department at 877-724-3258 for residents of other counties in Pennsylvania if you develop measles symptoms.

For more information about measles, visit the CDC’s webpage on measles.