Austin, Texas, says a person with measles may have exposed others to the disease

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A person diagnosed with measles traveled to several locations around Austin, Texas, and may have exposed others to the contagious disease, health officials said.

The infected person, who is not identified, visited several restaurants, a Target store and the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport over a period stretching from December 14 to 17, according to the Austin Public Health Department.

Health officials said they are putting out the information to inform people who may have been exposed. They asked people to call their doctor if they have been to the following locations during these dates or develop a fever before January 1, 2020.

  • December 14 (evening) — Chipotle Mexican Grill, 6301 W Parmer Lane
  • December 14-16 — HEB, 6001 W Parmer Lane.
  • December 15 — Saam Thai, 6301 W Parmer Lane.
  • December 15-16 — Mandola’s Italian, 4700 W Guadalupe Street.
  • December 16 (2pm — 4pm) — Target, 10107 Research Boulevard; and Marco’s Pizza, 11011 Research Boulevard.
  • December 17 (Noon — 4pm) — Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, 3600 Presidential Boulevard; United Airlines, gate area.

The measles virus spreads through coughing and sneezing and can live in the air where an infected person coughed or sneezed for up to two hours. If someone who is not immune to the virus breathes the air or touches an infected surface, they can become infected, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Measles’ symptoms generally include a high fever, cough, runny nose, conjunctivitis and a red splotchy rash.

“Measles is an acute, highly contagious viral disease. A small number of cases are capable of quickly producing epidemics,” said Dr. Mark Escott, interim health authority and medical director for Austin Public Health. “The best way to protect yourself and your family against measles and other vaccine-preventable diseases is by immunization.”

Measles was declared eliminated in the United States nearly two decades ago, but there has been an upsurge of cases in recent years as vaccinations rates have declined.

Those who have received two Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccinations are safe from the disease.

Prior to the vaccine’s invention in 1963, about 3 to 4 million Americans were infected yearly. As of October, there were 1,250 measles cases in 2019, the greatest number in nearly three decades.

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