(HealthDay News) — Traveling through the same U.S. airport gate, one infected passenger transmitted the measles virus to three others within a four-hour time span, illustrating just how easily the virus can spread. These findings were reported in the December 19 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The measles “cluster” of cases originated at one gate at an unnamed U.S. international airport, according to the report. Transmission likely occurred on January 17. The gate in question was located in a terminal that only serviced domestic flights.

The first patient outlined in the report was a 21-year-old man. He developed a measles rash on February 1 and had traveled on two domestic flights that connected at the airport about two weeks beforehand – on January 17 and 18. Patient 2 was a 49-year-old man who also developed a measles rash on February 1. He had reported traveling from the airport on January 17. A third patient, aged 19, came down with the measles rash on January 30. He said he had spent four hours on a layover in the airport on January 17 as well. Finally, patient 4, a 63-year-old man, developed a measles rash on February 5. He had also traveled through the airport on January 17.

“The exposures in this report were not prolonged and occurred in a domestic rather than an international terminal, highlighting the fact that measles is highly contagious,” the authors write. They stressed that measles “continues to pose a risk for infection among unvaccinated persons in the United States.” None of the four people infected had been vaccinated.

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