Measles alert for plane passengers

NSWHealth is warning airline passengers to be alert for symptoms of measles afterone traveller was diagnosed with the highly-contagious disease.

Thetraveller was infectious while on an international Jetstar flight from Thailandand a domestic Sydney-Melbourne flight with the same airline. They then boardeda Virgin Australia flight to New Zealand.

Thetraveller was on the following flights:

  • Jetstar JQ28 departing Phuket at 9:45pm on 18 March, arrivingSydney Airport’s T1 international terminal at 10:30am on 19 March
  • Jetstar JQ517 departing Sydney Airport’s T2 domestic terminal at2pm March 19, arriving at Melbourne Airport Terminal 4 at 3:35pm
  • Virgin Australia Flight VA99 departing Melbourne Airport Terminal2 at 6:35pm March 19, arriving at Christchurch Airport at 11:35pm

Peoplewho were on the same flights or in Sydney Airport’s international and domesticbaggage carousels, customs, arrivals and departure areas between 10:30am – 2:30pmon 19 March are being urged to check for symptoms until 6 April.

It cantake up to 18 days for symptoms to develop after coming into contact with aninfectious person.

NSWHealth’s Communicable Diseases Branch director Dr Vicky Sheppeard said peopleare susceptible to measles if they have never had the disease in the past orhave not received two doses of the measles vaccine.

“Themeasles-mumps-rubella vaccine is free in NSW for anyone born during or after1966 who hasn’t already had two doses,” Dr Sheppeard said. “If you’re unsurewhether you’ve had two doses, it’s safe to have another.”

Symptomsinclude fever, sore eyes and a cough followed three or four days later by ared, blotchy rash spreading from the head and neck to the rest of the body.

“Ifyou develop symptoms, please call ahead to your GP to ensure you do not wait inthe waiting room with other patients,” Dr Sheppeard said.

Outbreaksof measles in popular tourist destinations, including countries in South-EastAsia, means the risk for measles being imported into Australia remains high.

Measlesis spread in the air through coughing or sneezing by someone who is unwell withthe disease.

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