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Plane passengers exposed to measles on flights

Friday, June 14, 2019   Posted in: Signatory Notice Board By: Administrator With tags: health, disease, advice, medical

Canterbury DHB media release: 13th June 2018

A passenger arriving in Christchurch on Jetstar flight JQ237 from Auckland on Thursday 6th June 2019 has been confirmed as having measles. The passenger also flew back to Auckland on flight JQ236 on Saturday 8th June 2019 while still infectious.

A passenger arriving in Christchurch on a flight has been confirmed as having measlesCommunity and Public Health wants to alert all passengers and crew on these flights that they have been exposed to measles:

  • Jetstar Flight JQ237 left Auckland at 3.55pm on Thursday 6th June local time and arrived in Christchurch at 5.20pm; and
  • Jetstar Flight JQ236 left Christchurch at 1.55pm on Saturday 8th June local time and arrived in Auckland at 3.20pm.

Anyone who travelled on these flights who isn’t sure they have been fully immunised should check their immunisation status with their General Practice team/family doctor. You are only fully protected if you have had two doses of the MMR vaccine, had clinically confirmed measles, or if you were born before 1969.

Any passenger or crew on the affected flights who is not fully protected should stay at home and remain isolated until Saturday 22nd June 2019.

Canterbury Medical Officer of Health Dr Alistair Humphrey says this means staying home from school or work and having no contact with unimmunised people. “They can return to work if they are still not unwell on Saturday 22nd June,” says Dr Humphrey.

Anyone who becomes unwell with the follow symptoms over the next week should phone their doctor for advice:

  • A respiratory type of illness with dry cough, runny nose, headache;
  • Temperature over 38.5ºC and feeling very unwell; and
  • A red blotchy rash starts on day 4 or 5 of the illness usually on the face and moves to the chest and arms.

At risk passengers from these flights should not go to their general practice or to the hospital unless it is an emergency or they are advised to do so by a doctor or nurse. This is so they do not infect more people.

You can call your own GP team after hours if you live in Canterbury – you will speak to a nurse who can provide advice at any time of day or night. People from outside Canterbury and living elsewhere in New Zealand can call Healthline on 0800 611 116.

Key information about measles including signs and symptoms

  • Measles is a highly infectious viral illness spread by contact with respiratory secretions through coughing and sneezing.
  • Symptoms of measles include:
    • A respiratory type of illness with dry cough, runny nose, and headache;
    • Temperature over 38.5ºC and feeling very unwell; and
    • A red blotchy rash starts on day 4 or 5 of the illness usually on the face and moves to the chest and arms.
  • People are infectious from five days before the onset of the rash to five days after the rash starts.
  • Infected persons should stay in isolation – staying home from school or work – during this time.
  • The best protection from measles is to have two MMR vaccinations. MMR is available from your family practice and is free to eligible persons.
  • People are considered immune if they have received two doses of MMR vaccine, have had a measles illness previously, or were born before 1969.
  • Anyone believing they have been exposed to measles or exhibiting symptoms should not go to the Emergency Department, after hours’ clinic or general practitioner. Instead call your GP any time 24/7 for free health advice.

Healthy Christchurch Champions

  • Canterbury District Health Board
  • Christchurch City Council
  • Environment Canterbury
  • Ministry of Health
  • Ngai Tahu
  • NZ Police
  • Pegasus Health
  • University of Otago, Christchurch