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Airport, Hospital Alerted Over Measles


By Dan Hounsell Emergency Preparedness
Measles virus or virus

Emergency preparedness in institutional and commercial facilities can only go so far. Facility managers and their peers can make a host of comprehensive plans designed to protect building and occupants from a range of potential threats, but ultimately, success or failure depends largely on whoever decides to walk in the door.

Such is the case for two Chicago-area facilities now facing a threat from potentially deadly disease, according to CNN.

A Chicago Midway International Airport passenger might have exposed people to measles there and at a Chicago-area hospital recently, Illinois health officials say, as physicians across the globe contend with a surge of measles cases.

The passenger, an Illinois resident whom officials aren't naming, had the disease and was infectious when he or she was at the airport on the night of Feb. 22, the Illinois Department of Public Health says. The infected person was on a flight that arrived at the airport's Concourse B. Officials didn't say where the flight originated.

The person then sought treatment at Northwestern Medicine Delnor Hospital in the Chicago suburb of Geneva, health officials say. People might have been exposed to the disease, the health department said, if they were at either of these facilities during certain hours. Anyone infected in this case could develop symptoms as late as March 20, the department says. The potential exposures come as measles cases have risen in the United States and across the world.

Measles, a respiratory disease characterized by a rash of flat red spots, can lead to severe complications such as pneumonia, encephalitis, and death.

U.S. measles cases totaled 791 in 2018, up from 120 in 2017, according to UNICEF. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported there were 159 measles cases in the United States so far in 2019, with an outbreak in Washington state reaching 70 cases.

Dan Hounsell is editor-in-chief of Facility Maintenance Decisions and FacilitiesNet.com.

 

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