State health officials say airline passenger had measles

Monday, June 28, 2004

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- State health officials are warning people that a 14-month-old girl aboard a flight that landed at Kansas City International Airport earlier this month had the measles. The warning comes months after health officials imposed a temporary ban on adoptions from a Chinese agency where a measles outbreak was reported.

Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services officials are notifying passengers who were on Southwest Airlines Flight 1979 on June 9 that they may have been exposed to measles. The girl, who is now in good condition, had been adopted from China and was going to her new home in eastern Jackson County.

The child was among 35 families from 16 states and the United Kingdom traveling from China to the United States with their newly adopted children, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a news release. A China Southern Airlines flight brought the infant from Guangzhou, China, to Los Angeles. The family then traveled on Southwest to Kansas City.

Health officials said another adopted girl in the group is showing earlier signs of the measles. She and her adoptive parents live in the St. Louis area.

In April, the CDC imposed a temporary ban on adoptions from the Zhuzhou Child Welfare Institute in China's Hunan province after a measles outbreak was reported. That ban was lifted in early June. The health agency reported earlier this year that at least six adopted Chinese toddlers who were flown to new U.S. homes had measles.

Children adopted from other countries are not required to be vaccinated against measles in advance, but health officials say they should be immunized within 30 days after arriving in the United States.

"Measles is highly contagious," Missouri Health Department spokeswoman Sue Denny said. "If someone has any suspicion they have symptoms and were on the flight, this is something to be concerned about, especially if they've never had the disease."

Measles can cause pneumonia, diarrhea, encephalitis and death in people who are not immunized.


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Information from: The Kansas City Star

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