Auckland Regional Public Health Service (ARPHS) has been notified of a passenger with measles on two flights between Tonga and Auckland this week.
ARPHS Medical Officer of Health Dr Maria Poynter says people who may have been exposed on these flights should be vigilant for symptoms of the highly infectious disease.
Passengers on the flight who are unsure whether they’re immune to measles should check with their doctor or call Healthline on 0800 611 116 for advice.
In addition, passengers should see their doctor urgently if they are under 12 months of age and not immunised, if they have a weakened immune system, or if they are pregnant and know they are not immune.
“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.
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.
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 (MMR) vaccine 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.