Health officials have announced that people passing through five of the countries busiest airports this month may have been exposed to the measles virus. Chicago, Austin, Denver, Los Angeles and Richmond are the cities where exposure occurred in December.
There were two exposure dates in Chicago. The first one occurred on December 12 when a passenger went through Terminal 3. The second exposure occurred on December 17 in Terminal 1. So far, health officials are not as concerned as those in some other cities because the Chicago area has a high vaccination rate as compared with other areas in the United States.
On December 17, there was an exposure in the United Airlines area at the Austin airport, and on that same date, there was an exposure reported at the airport in Richmond, VA.
Three unvaccinated children caused measles exposure on December 11 at both the Los Angeles and Denver airports. The children all tested positive for measles after they returned from a trip abroad. They were in multiple areas of both airports.
Over the course of this last year, the United States has seen one of the worst measles outbreaks in recent years. The majority of states have reported measles cases, and there was a major outbreak in New York that lasted most of the year.
Officials point out that almost all of those who are contracting measles are those who have not received the measles vaccine. The vaccine is very effective at preventing the disease when two doses of the vaccine are given.
Measles has been a major problem around the world this year. One nation that has been particularly hard hit is the Pacific nation of Samoa. Several have died, and vaccination has been made mandatory in order to stop the spread of the disease.
Health officials in the United States have reported that in many parts of the country, vaccination rates have fallen. They point that much of this is due to parents believing anti-vaccination rhetoric that has been proven to be without any scientific foundation.