An alert has been issued to recent passengers of a Singapore Airlines flight after they may have been exposed to a highly infectious virus.

Auckland Regional Public Health Service issued the alert after a person onboard an aircraft last Thursday was found to have measles.

Travellers who arrived at Auckland International Airport on Singapore Air flight SQ285 from Singapore, at 11.45am on February 22, may have been exposed to the virus, it said.

Passengers in rows 31 to 49 were closest to the measles case and are at highest risk, but any one on the flight should watch out for symptoms.

ARPHS is attempting to contact people seated close to the case.

“Although passengers in rows 31 to 49 are most exposed, there’s a possibility of anyone on the flight, around the flight gate or baggage claim at this time, could have been infected,”

Medical Officer of Health Dr Michael Hale said measles are very easily transmitted from one person to another.

“Possibly just from walking past the passenger with measles, or while sitting near them in the airport gate lounge,” he said.

Dr Hale said symptoms may appear tomorrow or over the next eight days.

The first symptoms are a fever, runny nose, cough and sore red eyes. After a few days a red blotchy rash develops.

Before the rash appears, measles is one of the most infectious airborne diseases.

“If anyone who may have been exposed knows they don’t have immunity to measles they can be vaccinated, and that could prevent the symptoms developing,” he said.

“The only way to protect from measles and the best way to avoid its complications is to be fully vaccinated.

“Anyone born before 1969 is likely to be immune to the disease without having had the vaccine.”

Measles is a serious illness. One in 10 people with measles need hospital treatment and the most serious cases can result in deafness or swelling of the brain.

Passengers feeling unwell should telephone their doctor before visiting the practice, or call Healthline on 0800 611 116 for advice.

Source: NZ Herald

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