Passengers may have been exposed to measles at San Jose airport

Santa Clara County health officials say an adult passenger traveled to the Bay Area after contracting the measles and may have exposed dozens of people to the virus while flying last week. They also named two additional Bay Area locations where people may have been exposed.

"I didn’t know about the measles, so thanks for telling me," said Sam, from Oakland, who was waiting for his luggage in Terminal B at San Jose Mineta International Airport. 

Travelers at San Jose's airport say they were surprised to hear that a passenger on Southwest Airlines may have put other travelers at risk last Tuesday. Santa Clara County’s Public Health Dept. announced that an out-of-state traveler was diagnosed with the highly contagious measles virus.

"There were three exposures that we’ve listed on July 1 and July 2. The first closure was at a Starbucks. The 2nd one was at a restaurant in Santa Cruz and on July 2nd the exposure was at the San Jose Airport and that was on July 2nd in the morning," said  Dr. Monika Roy, with the County of Santa Clara Public Health Dept. 

The Starbucks is located in Los Gatos on Blossom Hill Road and Taquería Los Pericos is on Water Street in Santa Cruz. Health officials also say the passenger was traveling from San Jose to Chicago on board Southwest Airlines flight WN 2804.

"People should review their immunization before traveling, people should make sure they often wash their hands, and they should take all necessary precautions to stay away from other people who may be presenting different symptoms of health issues," said Ana State, spokesperson for San Jose Mineta International Airport. 

The CDC says common symptoms of measles include fever, coughing, runny nose, red eyes, and a rash which can appear seven to 21 days after being exposed. Measles spreads through the air when someone speaks, coughs or sneezes. County health officials say those who’ve been vaccinated for measles have a low risk of getting the virus.

"Yeah, sanitize regularly, wash your hands. I don’t really expect people to have measles on the plane though. I didn’t know that was happening," said Austin Mok, who arrived in San Jose from Nashville via Southwest Airlines. 

"For us, we feel like we’ve taken the steps we need to be protected. So, there’s a risk involved in all travel and everyone in the public," said Gregg, from Nashville.  

Public health officials say Santa Clara County has a high vaccination rate for measles. They’re also working with the state and the CDC to identify those who may have been exposed. 

If you think you may have been exposed or for more information about measles, click here

Southwest Airlines released this statement in response to the measles exposure in San Jose: "We are in contact with the CDC to assist with their response and notifications to Customers and Flight Crews. The safety of our Employees and Customers is always our top priority."