Southwest Airlines and the Houston Health Department are launching an investigation after an adult passenger with measles recently changed planes in Houston. "The good news is that here in Houston, we have a good percentage of vaccination rate".
The Houston Health Department says its contacting passengers on the flight who are residents of Houston and alerting them of the threat. Passengers on the affected flights may develop symptoms as late as September 12 and should see their doctor if so, according to the Houston Health Department.
The patient, who officials say was contagious at the time of travel, connected flights at Hobby Airport on August 21 and 22, according to Houston's health department.
Measles is a highly contagious virus and spreads through the air through coughing and sneezing, according to the CDC. Symptoms of measles include a rash, high fever, cough, runny nose and red, watery eyes.
The virus has a 21-day incubation period, meaning anyone who was on any of the four Southwest flights should monitor for symptoms through at least Tuesday.
Our Safety & Security groups worked with the CDC to support the agency's work in reaching our Customers who traveled onboard four intra-Texas flights last week (details below) with a passenger later diagnosed with Measles.
Vaccinations have gone a long way in reducing the incidence of measles. Two doses of the MMR vaccine is about 97% effective at preventing measles, according to the CDC.
Prior to the introduction of the measles vaccine in 1963, around 3 to 4 million people per year contracted the disease in the US. Since then, vaccines have reduced instances of measles by more than 99% in the USA, according to the CDC, though it's still prevalent in other parts of the world.
The CDC was also involved in those cases. For people who haven't been vaccinated, some doctors recommend a post-exposure vaccine.
The measles is an acute viral respiratory illness and described by the Center for Disease Control as "one of the most contagious of all infectious diseases". These outbreaks most commonly happen after an un-vaccinated person travels overseas, then spreads the virus to other un-vaccinated individuals in the US.