Three passengers on flights from Samoa to Auckland in the past week have been confirmed as having measles - as the island nation grapples with an epidemic.

Auckland Regional Public Health has issued a warning for two other flights where passengers were exposed to the potentially deadly disease.

"We have been notified of two cases of measles in passengers travelling from Samoa to Auckland on two separate flights," the warning said.

"The first departed Apia, Samoa, on Air New Zealand flight NZ959 at 9.40pm on Friday, November 8, landing at 12.45am on Saturday, November 9."


The second Air NZ flight affected is one which left Faleolo Airport at 9.40pm on Sunday, November 10, and landed in Auckland about 1am on Monday, November 11.

Before this, the ARPHS issued a warning for passengers who travelled on flight NZ255 last Thursday, November 7.

The flight left Samoa about 3.30pm and touched down in Auckland about 6.30pm.

"The measles outbreak may have peaked, but it is not yet over," authorities said in an alert issued this morning.

The latest flight alert comes as Samoan authorities work hard to contain an increasing spread of the disease in the country.

Officially, there have been six measles-related deaths; the majority of them young children.

A family of two siblings - a 2-year-old boy and his 1-year-old sister - buried both children over the weekend after they died within a week of each other.


It is suspected they were both infected by the disease. The 1-year-old's twin and their parents' remaining child is also sick, Samoan media report.


The Public Health Service is telling anyone who is travelling overseas to get vaccinated at least two weeks prior to travel.

That message is being pushed especially to those travelling with babies and young children who are not vaccinated against measles.

"Anyone aged between six months and 30 years old who has not had an MMR vaccine for measles before should get vaccinated at their local doctor."

New Zealand authorities have responded quickly to official requests from both the Samoan and Tongan governments for help.

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Medical supplies arrived in both countries last week and now vaccination fridges are due to arrive in Samoa tomorrow after an additional request from authorities there.

"Supplies to Samoa included face masks, gowns, hand sanitiser and stretcher beds,'' a spokeswoman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade told the Herald.

"Supplies to Tonga included essential medical supplies, protective clothing, vials, pumps, needles and saline.''

The extra vaccination fridges from New Zealand are being flown over by a NZ Defence Force C-130 Hercules aircraft heading over as part of a routine tasking.

They will provide a stopgap until fridges procured by Unicef arrive in Samoa early next month.

Further assistance may also be offered to the island nation - including medical personnel, more supplies and equipment.


There is no official warning for anyone due to travel to Samoa in light of the situation there right now.

However, MFAT is working with the Ministry of Health to provide health-related information and health alerts via the SafeTravel website.