Health officials warn of measles exposure at Denver airport

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Measles_158240

This undated image made available by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Feb. 4, 2015 shows an electron microscope image of a measles virus particle, center. (AP Photo/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

DENVER (AP) – People who traveled through Denver International Airport last Wednesday afternoon may have been exposed to measles, Colorado health officials said Monday.

Three children who were in the airport that day tested positive for the highly contagious disease after traveling to a country where there was an outbreak, officials said.

Health officials don’t consider this an outbreak because the children are related, the Tri-County Health Department said in a statement. But they are warning people who were in the airport between 1:15 p.m. and 5:45 p.m. on Dec. 11 that they may have been exposed.

It’s unclear how many people came in contact with the children. About 179,000 people passed through the airport that day, spokeswoman Emily Williams told The Denver Post.

Health officials are also notifying people who were at the Children’s Hospital Colorado’s Anschutz Emergency Department between 1 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 12.

“We’re doing this investigation for a reason, and that reason is precisely to prevent secondary spread – and having a non-ideal vaccination rate in Colorado isn’t helping matters,” said Dr. Bernadette Albanese, a medical epidemiologist.

Colorado’s immunization rate for the measles, mumps and rubella vaccination was 87.4% last school year, which is below the threshold needed to protect a community from a measles outbreak. The three children who tested positive had not been vaccinated, officials said.

There is no ongoing risk of exposure at the two locations.

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