Measles Identified in 12-Year-Old Lufthansa Passenger

DETROIT -- The Michigan Department of Community Health is reporting that a 12-year-old passenger who was on board an Aug. 13 Lufthansa flight that landed at Detroit Metro Airport was contagious with measles.

The child a native of the Middle East and now a resident of Detroit was in the process of immigrating from the Middle East on Aug. 13, and also spent time in customs at Detroit Metro. The Lufthansa flight which originated in Frankfurt, Germany landed at Detroit Metro on Saturday, Aug. 13 at 4:10 p.m.

The case was reported as suspected measles to local health officials on Aug. 17. Local health officials sent disease specimens to a reference lab in Utah and received confirmation of the diagnosis on Aug. 26.

Dr. Dean Sienko, Michigans chief medical executive, said today that all people who were in Detroit Metro Airports McNamara Terminal after 4 p.m. on Aug. 13 especially those who were near the Lufthansa gate or in customs should be aware of the risks associated with the measles virus. Sienko said health officials are primarily concerned about the health of children aged 15 months and under who were potentially exposed because they may have never been vaccinated against measles.

"It is important that passengers who were in that terminal on August 13 be aware that this disease is highly contagious," Sienko said. "Anyone who was at the airport on that afternoon or evening and is now exhibiting fever and a rash should see their family physician immediately."

Sienko said those born before 1957 likely had measles as a child and should be presently immune. Those born after 1957 should have received vaccinations against measles.

Measles is one of the most highly infectious diseases known to man. Annually, because of very aggressive public health intervention, the United States experiences less than 100 cases of infectious measles, Sienko added.

The Wayne County Health Department, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and airport officials continue to contact passengers who may have been on the Lufthansa flight, or in customs on that day, Sienko said.

The state of Michigan has only had infrequent isolated cases of measles over the past several years. Measles causes a high fever and a red rash over most of the body. It can cause pneumonia and deafness. In serious cases, measles can cause inflammation of the brain and even death.

Source: Michigan Department of Community Health