Two people contract measles after passenger exposes travelers to virus on international flight to California, officials say

At least two people on an international flight to California contracted the measles after a passenger with the virus exposed them to it, officials said this week.

A Santa Cruz County resident exposed several people to the measles last month after boarding an international flight while sick with the virus, the San Francisco Department of Public Health reported this week.

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Rachael Kagan, a department spokeswoman, told The Sacramento Bee that the flight departed from somewhere in Asia.

According to the report, two other passengers became sick after the flight landed in San Francisco.

Officials said they believe the risk to the public is very low; no one else reported contracting measles from the flight, which was more than three weeks ago. The illness usually develops within 21 days of the initial exposure.

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“Making sure you have all your immunizations is especially important for travelers, because measles is circulating in many countries outside the United States,” the health department said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that the majority of measles cases occur when an unvaccinated person travels to a country where the virus is especially common and brings it back into the U.S.

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In 2018, 82 people brought measles to the U.S. from other countries -- the greatest number of imported cases since the measeles was virtually eliminated from the U.S. in 2000, the CDC reported.

There have been six reported outbreaks this year with a total of 206 cases, as of Feb. 28