Flight measles scare

Last updated 13:16 06/03/2014

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Passengers on an Air New Zealand flight from Brisbane to Auckland last month may have been exposed to measles, health authorities say.

Two passengers on flight NZ136 on Sunday, February 23, were suffering from measles, the Auckland Regional Public Health Service said today.

The affected passengers would have been infectious when they were travelling, according to Medical Officer of Health Dr Richard Hoskins.

It can take up to 14 days for someone who has caught measles to start showing any symptoms, meaning anyone on the flight who may have caught measles could start to feel unwell up to Sunday.

"Passengers who sat nearest the two cases have the highest risk and are our first priority, and will be contacted by their local public health service," Hoskins said.

"However, because measles is an infectious, airborne disease, we want all passengers to be vigilant."

Measles symptoms include a high fever, cough, runny nose, red eyes and a rash that starts on the face and neck before spreading.

Passengers from the flight who felt unwell should phone their GP or call Healthline on 0800 611 116 for advice.

There have been 57 measles cases in Auckland this year. Nine victims caught the infection overseas.

Hoskins said measles was a serious illness and there was no treatment.

"The only way to avoid catching measles is to have had two measles vaccines after your first birthday," he said.

"Please check with your GP to see if you and your family are protected."

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