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Flight Passengers Watch For Measles Symptoms

Audio

Aired 2/28/11

San Diego County health officials say they've contacted nearly all of the local passengers that were exposed to measles on a cross-country flight last week. Symptoms could start emerging over the next few days.

— San Diego County health officials say they've contacted nearly all of the local passengers that were exposed to measles on a cross-country flight last week. Symptoms could start emerging over the next few days.

Measles symptoms usually begin to appear about eight days after exposure. Last Tuesday, a woman with measles flew from Baltimore to Denver. The plane continued into San Diego. More than 160 passengers were exposed to the disease.

Dr. Eric McDonald, San Diego County's Deputy Public Health Officer, said people who have been fully vaccinated don't need to worry.

"The measles vaccine is actually one of the most effective vaccinations out there," McDonald said. "And I think that someone who has received their basic series can be very reassured that they will be protected from measles."

Measles is highly infectious. Doctors say people who are in a room even hours after a person with measles has left can still get the disease.

In recent years, a number of parents haven't inoculated their kids against measles because they believed the vaccine caused autism. No proof of that connection has been found.

Measles kills about 160,000 people a year worldwide, mostly kids under the age of 5. Two doses of the vaccine provide protection.

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