Kiwi plane passengers exposed to measles

Passengers on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Auckland last month have been exposed to measles, public health officials have confirmed.

A passenger on board Malaysian Airlines flight MH131, which arrived in Auckland on February 26, had measles and was infectious, Auckland Regional Pubic Health Service said today.

“We can confirm there was a passenger on board who was infectious during the flight and remained infectious until today,” medical officer of health Dr Julia Peters said.

Dr Peters said it could take 10-14 days for someone who had caught measles to start showing symptoms.

If anyone on the flight had caught measles, they may be starting to develop symptoms, she said.

Dr Peters urged any passengers from the flight who felt unwell to call their doctor before visiting.

“It is vitally important to call first because measles is a highly infectious airborne disease, and people with measles can easily infect others in doctors’ waiting rooms.”

She said those passengers who sat nearest the infected person were at the highest risk of infection, and public health services would try to contact them.

“We want all passengers to be aware and vigilant,” Ms Peters said.

The initial symptoms of measles include a fever, running nose, cough and sore eyes.

After about a week, a raised red rash spreads over the body lasting several days.

Ms Peters said measles was a serious illness and there was no treatment.

“The only way to avoid catching measles is to have had two measles vaccinations, at 15 months and four years.”

**You don’t have to be 15 months and 4 years, you can get the shots anytime…

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Eric Write head editor and chief at The Pluto Daily