7 Mar 2015

Officials track passengers exposed to measles

12:10 pm on 7 March 2015

Public health officials are asking Aucklanders who fear they have measles to phone ahead of GP visits so they can be kept away from other people in waiting rooms.

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Photo: 123RF

Passengers on a Malaysian Airlines flight from Kuala Lumpur on 26 February, a Thursday, are being contacted after a child on board was diagnosed with the measles.

Officials are contacting about 80 passengers who sat near them.

Medical Officer of Health Dr Julia Peters said other passengers are most at risk of contracting measles, but anyone who has come into contact with the child since the flight arrived was also at risk.

"We do have a large contact trace to do of people with whom the child has been in contact over the last 8 to 9 days.

"In terms of the flight, we'll be endeavouring to contact anyone who was within close proximity to where the child was sitting."

She said about 80 people who were in the 11 rows directly behind the infected child and were most at risk.

Dr Peters said the initial symptoms of measles include a fever, running nose, a cough and sore eyes. After about a week, a raised red rash spreads over the body lasting several days.

It can take 10-14 days for someone who has caught measles to start showing symptoms.

Dr Peters said if anyone on the flight has caught measles, they may already be starting to develop symptoms.

"Any passengers from this flight who feel unwell are urged to phone their GP or call Healthline on 0800 611 116 before visiting their doctor," Dr Peters said.

"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."

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