Health officials warn of possible measles exposure at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport

Health officials are warning of a possible measles exposure at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) last week. Seattle & King County Public Health officials are investigating and say a male child was diagnosed with the illness while traveling through the airport on Nov. 5th.

Officials believe the child likely contracted the disease will traveling outside the U.S. Before he was diagnosed with measles, officials say the child was at SEA's North Satellite gate N-11 and baggage claim carousel 13 between 10 p.m. and 12:30 a.m. on Nov. 5.

“Measles outbreaks continue to circulate in many areas of the world. As long as people travel, no community is safe from measles introductions," said Jeff Duchin, Health Officer for Public Health – Seattle & King County in a statement. "Measles vaccine is safe, effective, and offers excellent protection. If you aren't sure if you're up to date with the recommended doses of measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine (MMR), see your health care provider and get a dose of MMR if needed.

“During our COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important to stay up-to-date on all scheduled vaccinations for children, so we don’t lose important community protections against other serious infections," said Duchin.

Measles can occur before people notice any rash appear and can remain airborne for up to two hours prior to the infected person leaving the area. Symptoms include fever, rash cough, and red, watery eyes. King County health officials advise those who were in the same locations as the child to:

  • Find out if they are vaccinated for measles with the recommended number of MMR vaccinations
  • Call a healthcare provider immediately if any illness symptoms such as a fever or an unexplained rash appear.
  • To avoid spread, do not go to a clinic or hospital without calling ahead about the symptoms.
  • Vaccination or medication can be given after exposure but officials recommend consulting your healthcare provider first.

According to King County health officials, the risk to the general public is low because many people in the area are vaccinated. Still though, health officials warn that if somebody is not up-to-date on the MMR vaccine, and may have been exposed, it's important to contact a healthcare provider.