Southwest passengers going through Houston may have been exposed to measles

Southwest passengers going through Houston may have been exposed to measles

HOUSTON (KTRK/CNN) - It’s a scary thought for travelers - not knowing the person sitting next to you may be infected with a highly contagious disease.

Health officials said travelers on some Southwest flights last month may have been exposed to measles. The infected patient from north Texas traveled through Houston several times last month and sat in waiting areas between flights.

"It's very contagious," said traveler Elizabeth Hale. "The air is always circulating."

It's a sensitive case being worked on by many agencies from different jurisdictions. People who were on board at least four flights in and out of Houston's Hobby Airport on Aug. 21 and 22 are being made aware.

"What we are doing, from a Houston Health Department perspective, is contacting the passengers on the flight who are residents of the city of Houston and alerting them of the threat and to be on the lookout for symptoms," said Scott Packard with the health department.

Travelers who experience rash, high fever, coughing, runny nose and red, watery eyes should contact their doctor immediately.

The Houston Health Department said the infected person did not leave the waiting area, so the likelihood of exposure to people at airport is low.

“We’ve shared awareness of the situation and protocols with our employees who were also on board these aircraft,” said a Southwest representative in a statement. “Our entire fleet is subject to rigorous and regular cleaning programs”

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