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Possible Measles Exposure In San Diego

Passengers on a United Airlines flight from Chicago to San Diego on May 27 may have been exposed to measles, the county Health and Human Services Agency announced today.

A 43-year-old Italian man with the highly contagious disease traveled from Brussels, Belgium, to New York City and then to Rochester, N.Y. He then flew to Chicago and caught the aircraft bound for San Diego, United Flight 521, according to HHSA.

The HHSA said passengers in Terminal 1 at Lindbergh Field and an Avis rental car shuttle also might have been exposed by the man, who had never been immunized for the illness.

He went to an urgent care center in Encinitas the day after his arrival.

"Anyone on the flight or in the airport terminal should watch for symptoms and contact their healthcare provider if they show any signs of the disease," said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county's public health officer.

The HHSA is contacting 11 passengers with local addresses. Those outside the county are being reached by other agencies.

According to Wooten, measles develops seven to 18 days after exposure. Early symptoms include cough, runny nose, fever, and red eyes with a distinctive red rash appearing in one to four days.

A person is considered contagious four days before and four days after the rash appears.

The rash begins on the face and head then continues downward and outward to the hands and feet. It fades in the same order it began, from head to feet, Wooten said.

Anyone who is concerned about exposure to measles should contact their healthcare provider or the HHSA at (866) 358-2966. Ill patients who seek medical treatment are asked to call first so the doctor can take action to prevent exposure to others.

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