15 Jan 2014

Measles warning for airline passengers

9:47 pm on 15 January 2014

A warning has been issued for passengers who shared a flight into Auckland on Sunday night with a baby who had measles.

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The Auckland Regional Public Health Service says passengers on Singapore Airlines flight SQ281 may have been exposed to contagion from the seven-month-old, who contracted the illness in the Philippines.

This brings the number of confirmed measles cases in New Zealand to 17. The other 16 - one in Auckland, two in Wellington and 13 in the Taupo-Turangi area - are connected to a Sydney hip-hop event in December last year.

Medical Officer of Health Richard Hoskins says measles is highly infectious before any rash appears and easily transmitted, for example, while walking past infected passengers or while waiting at the airport gate lounge.

Dr Hoskins is urging any passengers who were on the flight but now feel unwell to contact their GP. Staff are trying to track down passengers and people who have been in contact with the baby.

"Once we do that, and contact the people who have been in those places in the same time, we assess whether they're susceptible to measles and if they are we give them advice about what they should do," he says.