Woman was on same 4 Southwest flights as passenger with measles

HOUSTON – News that there was a contagious passenger flying on a Southwest Airlines flight about two weeks ago had Monica Nicholas, of Dallas, wondering about her own symptoms.

Her husband spoke to us by phone.

“She began to get spotting on her legs, a kind of a rash,” said Brian Nicholas, of Dallas. “She also was experiencing flu-like symptoms.”

Southwest Airlines said a contagious passenger traveled on Aug. 21 from Dallas Love Airport to Houston Hobby then from Hobby to Harlingen then back again through the same stops on Aug. 22.

Unfortunately for Monica Nicholas, she was on all four flights.

Q&A: Closer look at the measles vaccinations numbers across our area

The Centers for Disease Control and Southwest Airlines notified passengers on those flights who may have been exposed to the measles.

According to the State Health Department, 357 Texans were on those flights.

Houston’s Health Department says 27 of those passengers were from Houston. They have reached 18 out of the 27 passengers and none of them reported being unvaccinated.

Experts said the MMR vaccine (measles, mumps and rubella) is the best way to prevent the measles.

While the Houston Health Department says the passenger never left the airport and remained in the waiting area, experts say travelers still have to be careful.

"Measles virus is highly contagious," Dr. Melanie Mouzoon, an immunization specialist at Kelsey-Seybold Clinic, said. "There have been reports of people catching measles from an airport waiting room two hours after the person with measles left."

As for the Dallas traveler, Monica Nicholas went to the doctor Friday and told KPRC she does not have measles, but she did get the vaccine today.

Her husband said they both weren’t sure if they had received it as kids.

The Houston Health Department said of the contagious measles patient, "Passengers exposed to this patient may develop symptoms as late as Sept. 12, 2018."

Closer look inside measles numbers

The state data look at vaccination rates at the kindergarten and seventh-grade levels. Data also show the changes in percent of students in a county not vaccinated since 2011-2012 because of conscientious exemptions.

1.) Seventh-grade  2017-18 vaccination rates by school and/or district in our viewing area.

2.) Kindergarten 2017-18 vaccination rates by school and/or district in our viewing area.

3.) Conscientious exemptions from the 2011-12 school year through the 2017-18 school year. These show a small upward trend in all counties for the percentage of students not vaccinated.

The data do not include the raw numbers of students not vaccinated.