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.
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.