Travellers who flew in to Auckland on a flight from Kuala Lumpur last weekend are being warned they might have been exposed to measles.

The Auckland Regional Public Health Service (ARPHS) said a passenger on Malaysia Airlines MH133 from Kuala Lumpur at 11pm on Sunday 15th April was infected with the virus - which is very easily transmitted.

The ARPHS has been contacting the passengers seated in rows 28 to 44, closest to the infectious person, and warning them to check their immunity.

Vaccination would be advised in some cases, or in other cases quarantine.


ARPHS medical officer of health Dr Josephine Herman said there was a possibility other passengers on the flight, outside of the mentioned rows, might have been infected too.

This could have happened on the plane, at the gate, or at the baggage claim.

"The airborne measles virus is very easily transmitted from one person to another, so those on the flight should watch for symptoms from now until 29 April," Herman said.

Symptoms could include a fever, a runny nose, a cough or sore red eyes.

A raised red rash could also flare up down the track.

Any passenger who was on the flight and was feeling unwell was advised to phone their doctor before visiting the practice.

The health service said measles was a serious illness.

One in 10 people with measles would need hospital treatment. The most serious cases could result in deafness or swelling of the brain.

Herman said Kiwis should keep up to date with MMR vaccines to best protect themselves against the virus.

"The only way to protect from measles and the best way to avoid its complications is to be fully vaccinated with two doses of the MMR vaccine," she said.

Common measles symptoms:

- The time delay from being exposed to measles to developing symptoms is usually 8-14 days but can be up to 21 days. The typical symptoms are:
- Fever, and one or more of a runny nose, cough or sore red eyes.
- Then after a few days, a red raised rash comes on and lasts up to one week. The rash usually starts on the face and spreads to the rest of the body.

Source: ARPHS