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Virginia reveals five cases of measles among travelers from Afghanistan

“The people confirmed to have measles recently traveled from Afghanistan as part of the United States government’s emergency evacuation efforts,” a statement from the Department of Health said.

Published: Updated:

The Virginia Department of Health announced Tuesday that five people from Afghanistan were diagnosed with measles.

“The people confirmed to have measles recently traveled from Afghanistan as part of the United States government’s emergency evacuation efforts,” a statement from the Department of Health said.

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Health officials said they were reaching out to people who may have been exposed to the individuals.

Measles is a highly contagious disease that spreads through coughing or sneezing.

Most Americans are vaccinated against measles as children, the statement said. The vaccine provides lifetime immunity.

“When there is an ongoing concern that there may be people unaware of potential exposure to an individual diagnosed with measles, VDH is identifying locations to alert the public of the possible risk,” the Department of Health said Tuesday.

Measles is common in many parts of the world, including popular tourist destinations. “Clinicians should keep measles as a possible diagnosis when evaluating individuals who have recently entered or returned to the United States,” Virginia’s health department said.

Last week, the State Department stopped flights of evacuees from Afghanistan after an outbreak of measles among some who had already landed in the US. US border patrol ordered the halt.

Thousands of at-risk Afghans have been evacuated from Kabul following the chaotic US withdrawal, which allowed the Taliban to take over the country in less than two weeks. Biden administration officials and intelligence assessments predicted the Afghan government and security forces would be able to hold their own for at least two months.

Thousands of Afghans who worked with the US government, military or intelligence agencies are still stranded.

Read more: Top Democrat on Senate committee slams Biden admin, US withdrawal from Afghanistan