Man who rode on plane with WWE fan with measles receives alert from health department

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The Louisiana Health Department has started reaching out to people who attended a particular WWE event last week.

A source confirmed to FOX 8 that the tourist with measles was at the WWE Hall of Fame event at the Smoothie King Center on Friday.

Thousands of wrestling fans were here for that event, and The Louisiana Department of Public Health has started to contact those who were at that event to explain the situation, and ask them to monitor their symptoms.

Those symptoms include runny nose, cough, fever, and eventually progress into white spots on the inside of your mouth and rashes on your skin.

Health officials announced on Monday that they were working to trace the infected tourist's steps and contact any restaurants, hotels or people he may have come into contact with.

Jake Taft, a tourist from the United Kingdom, received an email from the Department of Public Health England alerting him that he was on the flight with a infected passenger.

Taft was on the plane with the passenger from Manchester to Heathrow, Heathrow to Miami, and then from Miami to New Orleans. 

The Louisiana Department of Health said the tourist traveled to New Orleans late last week from the United Kingdom and was already ill before he arrived.

He was hospitalized Saturday and tested positive for measles on Sunday.

Measles is a highly contagious virus, but the health department said there is no reason to panic because of how common the immunization is.

It can take anywhere from 10 days to three weeks before a person with measles starts to show symptoms.

Health officials are encouraging people to make sure their vaccinations are up to date.

Measles Facts:

  • The best protection and way to prevent measles is to have had two doses of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine, known as MMR. Two doses are about 97 percent effective against measles. If you are unsure of your vaccination records, check with your primary-care provider. Even a single dose of MMR up to 72 hours after exposure to someone with measles can prevent it or greatly reduce symptoms.
  • It can take anywhere from 10 to 21 days after a person comes in contact with someone with measles for that person to develop symptoms. These typically begin with a high fever, cough, runny nose and red, watery eyes, followed by a rash that typically spreads from the head to the rest of the body. In some cases, tiny white spots may appear inside the mouth two to three days after the onset of symptoms. Common complications for measles include ear infections and diarrhea, seen in about 10 percent of patients.
  • A person is contagious four days before the appearance of rash and the four days after the onset of rash. The highly contagious virus spreads easily by coughing, sneezing or even being in the same room with an infected person.
  • Because there is no cure, treatment is geared toward alleviating symptoms. Rest, pain and fever reducers, fluids, vitamin A supplements, and the use of a humidifier are often recommended.
  • Health authorities declared measles eliminated in the U.S. in 2000, but it is still common in other parts of the world.
  • In addition to practicing good hand hygiene habits, avoid sharing drinks, food and utensils.

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