SEATTLE - The Seattle-King County health department says a child who apparently was exposed to measles while overseas was infectious at Sea-Tac Airport the evening of May 26.
Health officials say unvaccinated people could have been exposed to the contagious disease if they were at Concourse A and baggage claim that day between 6:20 p.m. and 10 p.m.
Those people should call a health care provide if they develop a fever and rash in the next two weeks.
According to Public Health of Seattle & King County, the case is the third so far this year coming through Sea-Tac airport. State wide this is the 16th confirmed case so far this year, according to the Washington State Department of Health.
The state health department says normally there are as few as zero to five cases per year, with a few spikes. One in 2008 saw 19 cases. But with 16 now, and the year not even half over, health officials are trying to emphasize the importance to the public to be vaccinated. About 10-percent of the state's population is either not vaccinated against measles or those vaccinations are not current.
"The key is that people who travel internationally should just expect to be exposed to measles." said Dr. Jeffrey Duchin, the head of Communicable Disease Epidemiology and Immunization for Public Health in Seattle and King Co.
Duchin can't be specific, but he says the boy in question returned from a Pacific island nation and was young. He was also overdue for a second round of measles vaccine that is typically administered when a child is in kindergarten.
The problem with airports is that it's extremely hard if not impossible to detect measles, as a patient can be highly contagious for days before showing any symptoms. Most cases are spotted by doctors after people become ill. Measles is one disease that doctor's must report to public health authorities.