More 'Sick' Planes Are in the News. This Time It's Measles

Passengers on 4 Southwest flights in Texas warned they may have been exposed to disease
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 7, 2018 1:30 PM CDT
In this Feb. 10, 2017, file photo, a Southwest Airlines plane takes off from Palm Beach International Airport in West Palm Beach, Fla.   (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File)

(Newser) – First Emirates, then American, and now Southwest. All three airlines this week have had passengers or crew stricken by illness, and the latest episode involves the measles. NBC DFW reports that Southwest Airlines is working with the CDC to get in touch with passengers who were on four Southwest flights in Texas to warn them they may have been exposed to the highly contagious disease. One passenger has been diagnosed, and that person flew on the following flights: Flight 5 from Dallas Love airport to Houston's Hobby airport on Aug. 21; Flight 9 from Hobby to the Harlingen airport on the same day; and then, on Aug. 22, Flight 665 from Harlingen to Hobby, and on Flight 44 from Hobby back to Dallas Love.

Per ABC13, the diagnosed passenger is from North Texas and didn't visit any restaurants or other venues during the connections in Houston, instead hanging out in a waiting area for about an hour each time. A doctor tells ABC that people who were near the affected passenger in the airport are at lower risk than those who were on the planes. Those fellow fliers are now being advised to look out for measles symptoms, which include high fever, cough, runny nose, and a rash. Per the CDC, measles is so contagious that 90% of people who aren't immune will get infected if they're close to a person who has the illness, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram notes. Dallas County Health and Human Services said in a letter that the incubation period for the illness could be "up to 21 days after exposure," meaning passengers on those flights should keep an eye on things for a while longer.

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