Both passengers arrived at the airport with unrelated cases and there is no measles outbreak at the airport, the health department said.
The total number of measles cases in the U.S., Canada, and other industrialized nations has dropped by 99%, the Illinois Health Department said.
It is important to note that these two individuals did not become infected while at O'Hare airport, but had already contracted measles. The following day another passenger with measles landed at the same terminal, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health. This case involves a patient who was at the International Terminal on January 9 and who may have exposed others to the highly contagious virus. Authorities say local health departments are contacting those thought to be most at risk, including passengers on the inbound flight to Chicago.
The reason for the multiple visits to those facilities was not immediately known. It begins with a high fever, a cough, a runny nose and red watery eyes usually and progresses to also include a rash.
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Those who have been vaccinated for measles as a child are not at high risk. Shah said most people have been vaccinated, but those who haven't are most at risk.
Measles symptoms typically begin about 14 days after exposure, meaning infected people could show symptoms beginning February 1. Individuals who think they have been exposed should check with their health care provider about protection through prior vaccination or the need for vaccination. In rare cases, serious complications can develop. Measles is easily spread through the air when someone coughs or sneezes. If someone is infected, 90 percent of the people they come in contact with while infected will also get infected if they aren't protected, according to the CDC.
"Getting vaccinated not only protects you, it protects others around you who are too young to get the vaccine or can't receive it for medical reasons", she added. "Very few people", about 3 percent, who receive two doses of measles vaccine will contract the virus if exposed to it, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes, adding that travelers can bring measles into the US from common travel destinations like England, France, Germany, the Philippines, Vietnam and India.