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Measles case on Auckland-Sydney-Auckland flights

Auckland Regional Public Health Service (ARPHS) has been notified of a case of measles in a New Zealander who flew between Auckland and Sydney late last month. The person did not know they had measles at the time.

Medical Officer of Health Dr William Rainger says people who may have been in contact with that person should be vigilant for symptoms of the highly infectious disease.

"It can take 7-14 days to start experiencing symptoms and 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," Dr Rainger says.

Measles is an airborne disease that spreads easily through the air via coughing and sneezing.

Flight details

-The person departed Auckland for Sydney on Air New Zealand Flight NZ711 just before 8pm on Friday 23 August.

-The person returned to Auckland from Australia on Flight NZ108, which departed Sydney at around 7.50pm on Sunday 25 August and landed in New Zealand at 12.15am on Monday 26 August.

Anyone who was on the same flights, or in the airport departure or arrival areas around the same time as the case, should watch out for signs of measles.

Dr Rainger says those symptoms include a high fever, runny nose, cough and sore red eyes.

"A few days later a rash starts on the face and neck, then spreads to the rest of the body," he says.

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

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 Measles, Mumps, Rubella vaccine (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.

For more information or advice on measles, please call Healthline on 0800 611 116, or see the Auckland Regional Public Health Service or Ministry of Health websites.


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