30 Aug 2019

Measles alert for passengers on flight from Samoa to NZ

1:13 pm on 30 August 2019

An Auckland health authority has been notified of a case of measles in a New Zealand passenger travelling from home Samoa to Auckland.

Auckland International Airport

Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

A public health specialist from the authority, Dr Maria Poynter, said people who were on the same flight should be vigilant for symptoms of the highly infectious disease.

The infected passenger departed Samoa on Air New Zealand flight NZ997 at 9.35pm 19 August which landed in Auckland in the early hours of Tuesday the 20th.

The passenger did not know they had measles at the time but was isolated shortly after arriving back in New Zealand.

New Zealand's Ministry of Health has notified public health authorities in Samoa of the case.

Anyone who was on the same flight, or in Apia airport departure or Auckland arrivals area around the same time, should remain watchful for symptoms.

These can include fever, coughing and a rash. Measles is an airborne disease that spreads easily via coughing and sneezing.

"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 said.

Travellers to and from Auckland are being warned to vaccinate against measles at least two weeks ahead of time to prevent the viral illness spreading.

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