6 Apr 2009

Health officials in Cook Island track all those on board flight from Aitutaki

10:49 am on 6 April 2009

The Cook Island Health Department says a quick and well planned response has prevented the possible spread of a contagious disease.

The Director of Hospital Health Services, Helen Webber, says the ministry was proactive in addressing the possible infection of 24 passengers, flight crew and ground crew connected to a flight from Aitutaki last week.

Ms Webber says a child onboard the flight had suspected Meningococcemia, a bacterial infection.

All crew and passengers were identified and contacted by hospital and public health staff within 24 hours and issued with antibiotics to prevent possible infection.

She said some passengers took up to 24 hours to locate after the flight landed, as they had gone back to New Zealand or other outer islands, but all have now been contacted.

The child is in a serious but stable condition and was transported by a chartered special air ambulance to Starship Hospital to Auckland .