Health authorities on Wednesday were tracking down passengers on a Cathay Pacific flight from Hong Kong to Tokyo on March 1 after a man on the plane was found to have contracted measles, a highly contagious airborne disease.

The Centre for Health Protection said a 23-year-old Hongkonger developed a fever on March 1, the day he took CX526 to Narita Airport in Tokyo. He developed full-blown symptoms of measles three days later.

The man, said to be a Cathay Pacific flight attendant, was admitted to St Paul's Hospital in Causeway Bay after he returned to Hong Kong.

The centre said he tested positive for the immunoglobulin M antibody that confirms a measles infection.

Advertisement

He was later declared to be in stable condition and discharged.

The centre's initial investigation showed the man had no contact with measles patients during the incubation period, which lasts between seven to 21 days.

His contacts at home had no symptoms but were put under medical surveillance.

A spokesman said the centre was trying to reach passengers on the flight who might have had contact with the man to see if they had developed symptoms. An investigation had been launched, he said.

A Cathay Pacific spokeswoman did not disclose whether the man was a flight attendant or a passenger, citing privacy concerns.

She said the Port Health Office had contacted the airline and that company officials had followed all procedures and were cooperating fully with the authorities.

The spokeswoman said the airline had notified the flight crew and conducted a thorough disinfection of the aircraft.

This is the 11th case of measles confirmed in Hong Kong this year.

Of the 10 preceding cases, seven were imported and three contracted locally.

-South China Morning Post