The Ministry of Health has issued a measles alert for passengers onboard a flight from Jakarta to Auckland last week.
Anyone who travelled on Jakarta-Sydney flight QFA42/QF42 – arriving in Sydney at 6:17am on 15 February – and who subsequently flew to New Zealand is being strongly urged to call Healthline (0800 611 116) if they have not already been contacted by health officials.
“People on this flight may have been exposed to a confirmed measles case that is currently in Australia. If they have not been contacted by Public Health staff, they should call Healthline urgently and remain at home until contacted,” said Te Whatu Ora spokesperson Dr William Rainger, Clinical Lead, National Public Health Service.
“To date, six contacts from the flight have been contacted, and Public Health Service staff are working to rapidly contact an additional 29 contacts who were identified yesterday.
“The focus is now on identifying any other passengers from this flight who may have travelled onwards to New Zealand.”
Once identified, New Zealand Public Health Service staff will work rapidly to check immunity and implement appropriate public health actions, including vaccination, he said.
Measles is a highly infectious disease that spreads easily to anyone who is not immune. This exposure event occurred on 15 February, with signs and symptoms usually developing between seven and 18 days after exposure. Measles symptoms include fever, cough, runny nose, sore and watery ‘pink’ eyes, followed by a blotchy rash.
People are considered immune if they have received two doses of the MMR vaccine, have had measles before, or were born before 1969. People should talk to their doctor if they do not know if they are immune to measles.
“Measles is a serious illness, with the 2019 outbreak resulting in more than 2000 cases and over 700 hospitalisations. Hence it is vital that people who were on this flight, and who have not yet been contacted by Public Health staff, contact Healthline urgently and remain at home or at their accommodation,” said Dr Rainger.
“The free MMR vaccination is the best protection against measles, and the most important thing people can do to protect themselves is to ensure that they and their tamariki are immunised. MMR is given as two doses – if you’re not sure that you’ve had two doses, play it safe and get vaccinated. There are no safety concerns with having an extra dose.”
A dedicated Disability Helpline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to support disabled people. For measles or general enquiries call free on 0800 11 12 13 or text 8988 for help and information. People can also access this helpline using the NZ Relay Service for assistance.