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Measles virus under a microscope

The Virginia Department of Health has identified five recent Afghan refugees diagnosed with measles and is reaching out to people in central and northern Virginia who may have been exposed.

The people confirmed to have measles recently traveled from Afghanistan as part of the government’s emergency evacuation efforts.

The Richmond and Henrico Health Districts have worked with a Richmond area hospital to identify and notify individuals potentially exposed at the hospital on Sept. 10, the VDH said.

In addition, the Piedmont Health District is working with federal partners to identify exposures at Fort Pickett in Nottoway County. On Friday, health departments in Northern Virginia announced that they were working together to identify people who may have been exposed at Dulles International Airport and other locations. 

Last week, U.S. halted in-bound flights of Afghan evacuees following the discovery of some measles cases among new arrivals, the Associated Press reported.

When there is an ongoing concern that there may be people unaware of potential exposure to an individual diagnosed with measles, VDH is identifying locations to alert the public of the possible risk. When potential exposures were limited and persons who were potentially exposed have been identified VDH contacts those individuals directly.

The health department reported the following locations for the patients in Northern Virginia:

Location

Date and Time

Dulles International Airport

1 Saarinen Circle

Dulles, VA  20166

September 3-4, 2021

  • International Arrivals Building/U.S. Customs Hall
  • Main Terminal Ticketing Level

6:30 p.m.-12 a.m.

9:30 p.m.-3 a.m.

Dulles International Airport

1 Saarinen Circle

Dulles, VA  20166

September 8, 2021

  • International Arrivals Building/U.S. Customs Hall
  • Main Terminal Ticketing Level

4:30-10:30 a.m.

8 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

StoneSprings Hospital Center 

24440 Stone Springs Boulevard

Dulles, VA 20166

  • Emergency Department, including waiting area

September 6, 2021

11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

and

September 8, 2021

9 a. m. to 9 p.m.

Inova L.J. Murphy Children’s Hospital

3300 Gallows Road

Falls Church, VA  22042

  • Floors 1-9

September 7, 2021  - 3 p.m. 

to 

September 8, 2021 - 7:30 p.m.

Dulles Expo Center

4320 Chantilly Shopping Center

Chantilly, VA 20151

September 4, 2021- September 8, 2021

Crowne Plaza Dulles Airport

2200 Centreville Rd

Herndon, VA 20170

September 4, 2021 - September 9, 2021

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.

What should you do if you were at one of the above locations at the time specified?

  • If you have received two doses of a measles containing vaccine (either the measles, mumps and rubella [MMR] vaccine or a measles only vaccine which is available in other countries) you are protected and do not need to take any action.
  • If you have received only one dose of a measles containing vaccine, you are very likely to be protected and your risk of being infected with measles from any of these exposures is very low.  However, to achieve complete immunity, contact your health care provider about getting a second vaccine dose.
  • If you have never received a measles containing vaccine nor had a documented case of measles, you may be at risk of getting measles from this exposure.  Contact your local health department or health care provider for advice.  If you notice the symptoms of measles, stay home and away from others and immediately call your primary health care provider or health department to discuss further care. Call ahead before going to the medical office or the emergency room and tell them that you were exposed to measles.

Please make sure children are up to date on their childhood vaccinations. Measles is easily preventable through a safe and effective MMR vaccine. The best protection against future measles cases is the vaccination of all susceptible persons. Two doses are recommended for most individuals with the first dose given at age 12-15 months and the second prior to kindergarten entry (age 4-6 years). 

Measles is common in many parts of the world, including popular tourist destinations. All persons who will be traveling internationally should be evaluated for measles immunity and vaccinated as needed. Infants too young to be vaccinated should avoid travel to areas with measles until they can be vaccinated.

Residents with additional questions about this measles investigation should contact their local health district; find contact information, here: www.vdh.virginia.gov/local-health-districts. Those in Fairfax may call the health district at 703-246-2411; for Loudoun Health District email Health@loudoun.gov. For more information on measles, visit www.vdh.virginia.gov/epidemiology/epidemiology-fact-sheets/measles-rubeola/.

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(3) comments

George Lawton

LOL…diversity is our strength

Change Craford

And you are showing your racist side again.

A.B. Herman

The average at-risk American is much more likely to be exposed to measles from the antivax wingnuts at the corner store, church service, or even next door than from refugee immigrants granted legal asylum.

As you appear to have the "average" part more than covered, worry not, unkind sir.

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