Measles alert for airport plane and train passengers

Passengers onan international flight and a train between the International Airport andLeumeah are advised to be alert for signs and symptoms of measles, after a manwas diagnosed with the infection following return from Bangladesh.

The man, agedin his forties, whose vaccination status is unknown, was infectious on CathayPacific flight CX139 from Hong Kong, which arrived at Sydney T1 InternationalTerminal on Tuesday 28 May at 7:40pm.

He thentravelled by train from Sydney Airport on the Macarthur line, departing at9:11pm, and arriving at Leumeah at 9:58pm.

The local publichealth unit is working with medical services visited by the man to contactpeople directly who may have been present at the same time.

NSW HealthDirector of Communicable Diseases, Dr Vicky Sheppeard, said none of thelocations visited by the man pose an ongoing risk.

It can take upto 18 days for symptoms to appear following exposure to a person with measles. Peoplewho travelled on the same plane and train, and those in the InternationalAirport Terminal (including the baggage carousels, customs and arrivals areas)between 7:40pm and 9:30pm on 28 May should be alert for signs and symptoms ofmeasles until 20 June, 2019.

“Symptoms towatch out for include fever, sore eyes and a cough followed three or four dayslater by a red, blotchy rash that spreads from the head to the rest of thebody,” Dr Sheppeard said.

“Anyone whodevelops symptoms of measles should phone their GP to ensure they don’t wait withother patients before seeing their doctor.”

“Themeasles-mumps-rubella vaccine is safe and effective protection against measles,”she said.

“It’s free foranyone born during or after 1966 who hasn’t already had two doses. If you’reunsure whether you’ve had two doses, it’s safe to have another.”

Measles ishighly contagious and is spread in the air through coughing or sneezing bysomeone who is unwell with the disease.

While the riskof infection is low in fully-vaccinated people, health experts urge anyone whocomes into contact with someone who has measles to remain alert for symptoms.

They shouldlimit their exposure to others and seek medical care if symptoms develop. Twodoses of measles vaccine provides lifelong protection in 99 out of 100 peoplewho are vaccinated.

Protectingchildren from potentially deadly diseases is a key priority for the NSWGovernment, which has invested approximately $130 million in the 2018-19Immunisation Program budget, including Commonwealth and state vaccines.

The latestAnnual Immunisation Coverage Report shows vaccination rates in NSW are at theirhighest level ever, with more than 95 per cent of five year olds vaccinatedagainst measles.

For moreinformation on measles visit: https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/measles/Pages/key-facts.aspx

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