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Passengers contacted after woman with measles goes through 3 airports

By the CNN Wire Staff
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Travelers warned about measles exposure
  • The infected passenger traveled from Europe to the United States
  • Health officials are contacting those who may have been exposed to viral disease
  • A different confirmed measles case in Boston was woman who flew from France

(CNN) -- State public health officials are contacting airline passengers after a woman with measles traveled through three airports earlier this week, a spokesman for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Saturday.

The woman traveled from an airport in Europe to Dulles International Airport in Virginia to Denver International Airport and, finally, to New Mexico's Albuquerque International Sunport, said CDC spokesman Tom Skinner.

The woman, who traveled Tuesday, was diagnosed with the disease in New Mexico, he said.

Health departments in each area, using information from the CDC, are contacting those who may have been exposed to the viral disease. That may include flight crews and airport workers.

"That work is ongoing," said Skinner, who could not confirm the airline or airlines and the originating flight's location.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said people who were working or traveling through Concourse C at the Denver airport after 9 p.m. Tuesday should monitor themselves for any early symptoms of measles, especially fever, from Monday through March 12.

"People who develop a fever should contact their health care provider or their local or state health department. People with symptoms should not go to child care, school, work or out in public, as they might have the early symptoms of measles and might be contagious," the department said in a statement Friday.

Typically, health officials concentrate on passengers or crew who were five rows in front of or five rows behind an infected traveler, Skinner said. They are particularly mindful of small infants and children and people with underlying medical conditions.

People who had not previously been immunized may have a "small window" after being contacted to be vaccinated or given globulins to avoid developing symptoms, Skinner told CNN.

In a separate development, measles was confirmed in a 24-year-old woman who took a flight from France and two people in Boston were suspected of having the disease. Boston officials held a free measles vaccination clinic Friday.

"Most of the [U.S.] cases are imported into the country," Skinner said.

Measles is a very contagious viral disease that is easily spread through coughing, sneezing and secretions from the mouth. Measles develops generally seven to 14 days after a person is infected, according to the CDC.

A typical case of measles begins with mild to moderate fever, cough, runny nose, red eyes and sore throat. Two or three days after symptoms begin, tiny white spots may appear inside the mouth.

Three to five days after the start of symptoms, a red or reddish-brown rash appears. It may spread downward from the face and be accompanied by a temperature spike, the CDC says on its website.

CNN's Phil Gast contributed to this report