NORTHERN VIRGINIA — Virginia health officials are working to identify people at risk of measles exposure in Northern Virginia after learning about a person with measles who traveled into the region from out of the country. Authorities listed certain locations where they may have been exposed to measles.
The Virginia Department of Health listed Dulles International Airport, a hospital, a hotel and two restaurants as places where residents may have come into contact with the person. For anyone who may have been exposed to the person, symptoms may begin within seven to 21 days after exposure, with an average of 10 days after exposure. A rash usually appears within 14 days of exposure.
Based on the date of exposure, the department has determined that people who were infected with measles by the person may develop symptoms as late as Feb. 19.
“Northern Virginia area health officials are mounting a coordinated effort to identify people who may have been exposed,” the Virginia Department of Health said Friday afternoon in a news release.
Measles is a highly contagious illness that is spread through coughing, sneezing and contact with droplets from the nose, mouth or throat of an infected individual. Measles symptoms usually appear in two stages. In the first stage, most people have a fever of greater than 101 degrees, runny nose, watery red eyes and a cough. The second stage begins around the third to seventh day when a rash begins to appear on the face and spreads over the entire body.
For the person in Northern Virginia, four specimens were sent to a Virginia Department of Health lab for testing — two throat, one urine and one blood, according to the Fairfax County Health Department. The test results came back positive for measles.
Authorities released a list of businesses in Northern Virginia where the infected patient likely visited. The times listed are estimates by officials:
People who were at these places during these times may have been exposed to the person with measles, the health department said.
People who have never received a measles vaccine and who have never had a documented case of measles may be at risk of getting measles from the person. People should contact their local health department or health care provider for advice. People who notice the symptoms of measles should stay home and away from others and immediately call their primary health care provider or health department to discuss further care.
Treatment for measles focuses on relief of symptoms as the body fights the virus. This may include fluids, medications to control fever or pain, antibiotics to treat secondary infections from bacteria, and vitamin A supplements, according to a Virginia Department of Health fact sheet.
Residents with additional questions about this measles investigation should call 703-267-3511 or visit the Virginia Health Department’s website.