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Possible measles exposure at Richmond International Airport, other location in Central Virginia

The Virginia Department of Health said it was investigating after people at the airport in Richmond and a medical office in Midlothian may have been exposed.

RICHMOND, Va. — People who were at Richmond International Airport or a medical office in December may have been exposed to measles.

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) said that someone who had the disease was at the airport and at HealthVisionsMD in Midlothian. The Henrico and Chesterfield health districts were letting others who were at the locations know about the possible exposures. 

These are the dates and timeframes of those possible exposures:

Richmond International Airport (1 Richard E. Byrd Terminal Drive, Richmond)

  • Tuesday, December 17
  • 9 p.m. to 11: 45 p.m.
  • NOTE: The person didn't pick up bags in baggage claim area and went directly to a private vehicle at curbside.

HealthVisionsMD (1230 Alverser Dr., Suite 100, Midlothian)

  • Thursday, December 19
  • 12:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Measles is highly contagious. It's spread through coughing, sneezing, and contact with droplets from the nose, mouth or throat of an infected person.

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Measles symptoms usually appear in two stages. In the first stage, most people have a fever of greater than 101 degrees, runny nose, watery red eyes and a cough. The second stage begins around the third to seventh day when a rash begins to appear on the face and spreads over the entire body. 

In this case, based on the date of exposure, VDH said someone who was infected with measles may develop symptoms as late as January 11, 2020.

If you were at Richmond International Airport or HealthVisionsMD on the date and time specified for each location, here's what the state health department says you need to know:

  • If you have received two doses of a measles containing vaccine (either the measles, mumps and rubella [MMR] vaccine or a measles-only vaccine which is available in other countries) you are protected and do not need to take any action.
  • If you have received only one dose of a measles containing vaccine, you are very likely to be protected and your risk of being infected with measles from any of these exposures is very low.  However, to achieve complete immunity, contact your health care provider about getting a second vaccine dose.
  • If you have never received a measles containing vaccine nor had a documented case of measles, you may be at risk of getting measles from this exposure. In particular, if you are pregnant and unimmunized or unaware of your immune status, immunocompromised, or an infant under 12 months of age, you/your infant may be at risk of severe illness if you develop measles from this exposure. Contact your health care provider or your local health department for advice on possible intervention to decrease your risk of becoming infected or other precautions you may need to take.
  • If you notice the symptoms of measles, stay home and away from others and immediately call your primary health care provider or health department to discuss further care. Call ahead before going to the office or the emergency room and tell them that you were exposed to measles and are having symptoms.

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Measles is easily preventable through a safe and effective MMR vaccine. The best protection against future measles cases is the vaccination of all susceptible persons. Two doses are recommended for most individuals with the first dose given at age 12-15 months and the second prior to kindergarten entry (age 4-6 years).

Measles is common in many parts of the world, including popular tourist destinations. All persons who will be traveling internationally should be evaluated for measles immunity and vaccinated as needed. Infants too young to be vaccinated should consider avoiding travel to areas with measles until they can be vaccinated.

Anyone who is in the Henrico or Chesterfield health district who has additional questions about the measles investigation can call 804-501-4150. There's more information about the measles on VDH's website.