Measles risk for Jetstar, Air NZ passengers

By Paul Harper

Passengers who flew with a person in the early states of measles may have been exposed to the disease. Photo / Thinkstock
Passengers who flew with a person in the early states of measles may have been exposed to the disease. Photo / Thinkstock

Passengers who flew between Auckland and Wellington last week may have been exposed to measles, health authorities say.

Auckland Regional Public Health Service says a passenger who flew from Auckland to Wellington on Jetstar flight JQ265 on Tuesday, September 13 and returned on Air New Zealand flight NZ446 on the following Thursday was in the early stages of measles and capable of infecting others.

ARPHS medical officer of health, Dr Richard Hoskins, said people who were on those flights should check their immune status and contact their GP if in doubt.

Those not immune should check the ARPHS websitefor advice about quarantine.

"Any passengers on those flights, especially young children, displaying symptoms of measles should immediately telephone their doctor or Healthline on 0800 611 116, for advice.

It is important to call your doctor first because measles is highly infectious and people with it can infect others in waiting areas," Dr Hoskins said.

Measle symptoms include fever, cough, blocked nose, sore red eyes.

The measles outbreak in Auckland is now into its fourth month and the number of cases is increasing.

The Auckland Regional Public Health Service said there have now been 157 confirmed cases of measles in the Auckland region since May 30.

Additionally, 29 contacts are currently in quarantine, and 23 people have required hospitalisation.

Dr Hoskings said most of the initial cases occurred in West Auckland with some spread to Central Auckland, North Shore, and Manukau, however most recent cases have been in central Auckland and most are not linked to previous cases.

"It's important that people in Auckland continue to take actions to protect themselves from measles, including making sure that everyone in your family is up to date with their immunisations.

"If you are feeling unwell you should avoid any unnecessary travel, contact your doctor and stay at home, away from young children who may not be fully immunised or persons with lower immunity. Measles is highly infectious."

He said it is never too late to receive the MMR vaccination.

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