Houston Health Department Assisting in Measles Investigation Involving Houston Flight Connections

HOUSTON, Texas – The Houston Health Department (HHD) is assisting in the investigation of a case of measles involving a North Texas resident who recently connected flights in Houston. The department is directly contacting passengers possibly exposed to the virus.

The patient, contagious at the time of travel, connected flights at Hobby Airport on August 21 and 22. The traveler did not leave the airport or visit any airport restaurants or venues and only stayed in a waiting area for about an hour each day.

Measles is a highly contagious vaccine-preventable virus that lives in the nose and throat of an infected person. It can spread to others through coughing and sneezing.

“People at the airport are at a much lower risk of exposure than passengers on the flights with the patient,” said Dr. David Persse, Houston Health Department Local Health Authority. “That’s why our focus is on directly contacting the passengers to notify them of the risk, inquire about their vaccination status, and make sure they monitor for symptoms and seek medical attention if necessary.”

Symptoms of measles include rash, high fever, cough, runny nose and red, watery eyes. A person who develops symptoms of measles should contact their medical provider.

Passengers exposed to this patient may develop symptoms as late as September 12, 2018.

Children should get two doses of measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine, starting with the first dose at 12 to 15 months of age, and the second dose at 4 through 6 years of age. Two doses of the vaccine are 97% effective against measles.

“This serves as a reminder about the importance of proper vaccination,” Dr. Persse said. “The vaccine is safe and effective.”

This investigation is being coordinated by the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS).