Wellington Scoop

Measles on a flight to Wellington – passengers warned

News from Regional Public Health
Regional Public Health (RPH) is asking passengers on a flight between Wellington and Auckland last Saturday to check their immunity to measles. A passenger flew while infectious, before they knew they had measles.

The flight details are –

Air New Zealand flight NZ416; Wellington to Auckland; Saturday 17 Aug, departing at 9.45am

RPH Medical Officer of Health Dr Craig Thornley says fellow passengers, plus anyone in the Wellington or Auckland domestic terminals around the time of the flights, should watch for signs of measles.

Symptoms include a high fever, runny nose, cough and sore red eyes. A few days later a rash starts on the face and neck, before spreading to the rest of the body.

“You are most at risk if you’re not immune to measles, either because you haven’t been vaccinated or you haven’t had the disease previously. People who are not immune may start experiencing symptoms over the next week,” Dr Thornley says.

Anyone over the age of 50 years is considered immune as they would have been exposed to the virus as a child. Other passengers can check their Well Child or Plunket book for at least one measles mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccination.

If you were on the flight and are unsure whether you’re immune to measles, talk to your doctor or call Healthline on 0800 611 116 for advice.

Measles is a highly infectious airborne disease that spreads easily through the air via coughing and sneezing.

If you do start to develop symptoms that could be measles, also contact your doctor. Be sure to call ahead to prevent potentially infecting others in the waiting room.

Vaccination with the MMR offers the best protection against measles. One dose will prevent measles in 95 per cent of people, while having two doses will protect 99 per cent of people who have the vaccine.