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Measles cases on two Samoa to Auckland flights

Auckland Regional Public Health Service (ARPHS) has been notified of passengers with measles on two flights from Samoa to Auckland last weekend.

Auckland Regional Public Health Service Medical Officer of Health Dr Maria Poynter says people who may have exposed on these flights should be vigilant for symptoms of the highly infectious disease.

First flight

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

Second flight

- The flight departed Apia, Samoa on Air New Zealand NZ959 at 9.40 pm on Sunday 10 November, landing at Auckland International Airport at 1.00 am on Monday 11 November.

Passengers on both flights should check their immunity and watch for symptoms. "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 Poynter says.

Passengers on the second flight should talk to their doctor by Friday if they have been told they have a weakened immune system, if they have a baby under 12 months who travelled with them, or if they are pregnant and know they are not immune to measles.

Dr Poynter says 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, then spreads to the rest of the body," she says.

"If you were on one of the flights 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, " Dr Poynter says.

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. Vaccine is available.

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


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