DENVER (CBS4) – About 30 Coloradans have been personally warned that they may have been exposed to measles.
According to state health officials, last Tuesday those 30 were passengers on flights taken by a woman who had the contagious disease. Those who have been vaccinated can be considered immune — but that’s not everybody.
The 27-year-old traveler from New Mexico who has sparked the health alert never got the measles shots. And even though there hasn’t been a case of measles in Colorado since 2006, it can be just a plane ride away.
“The symptoms are fever, first of all runny nose, cough and red watery eyes,” Dr. Lisa Miller with the Colorado Department of Public Health said.
A red rash appears on the face and spreads to the rest of the body. Measles is viral and very contagious, easily spread through coughing and sneezing.
“Measles is one of these diseases where these droplets can actually hang out in the air for a while,” Miller said.
That’s why state health officials have zeroed in on two flights and Concourse C at Denver International Airport. The woman came into Denver and spent a few hours at the airport between trips. She left London on Feb. 20 for Washington Dulles. She left Baltimore for Denver on Feb 22 and stayed in Concourse C from about 9 p.m. until 11 p.m., and then flew to Albuquerque.
Health officials have notified about 30 Coloradans on the flights, but they are also cautioning anyone who was working or traveling through Concourse C at the time to watch for symptoms.
“I don’t think we need to go as far as saying anyone at DIA,” Miller said. “It’s really that C concourse we need to be aware of.”
Health officials say they are being extra cautious. They believe most people are protected from the virus either because they’ve been immunized or they’ve already had measles.
“But I think it’s still important not to lose sight of.”
According to Miller, those exposed to measles in this case will see the earliest symptoms starting Tuesday through March 12.
Measles can cause ear infections, pneumonia, encephalitis or even death in rare cases.
Those who think they have symptoms need stay home and call a doctor.