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Measles case on Samoa to Auckland flight

Auckland Regional Public Health Service (ARPHS) has been notified of a passenger with measles travelling from Samoa to Auckland. The person did not know they had measles at the time.

Public Health Medicine Specialist Dr Maria Poynter 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 Poynter says. Measles is an airborne disease that spreads easily through the air via coughing and sneezing.

Flight details

- The person departed Samoa on Air New Zealand flight NZ997 at 9.35pm 19 August.

- The flight landed at Auckland International Airport at 1.23am on 20 August.

The passenger went into isolation shortly after arriving back in New Zealand.

Anyone who was on the same flight, or in the airport arrivals area around the same time as the case, should watch out for measles symptoms from now.

Dr Poynter 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," she says.

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.

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 measles page or Ministry of Health website.

ENDS


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