NSW Health is warning travellers on Qantas flight QF0545 that departed Brisbane for Sydney on Saturday, 24 August, to be alert for symptoms of measles.
The warning comes after a passenger who travelled on this flight was confirmed to have been infectious with measles.
Dr Vicky Sheppeard, Director of Communicable Diseases at NSW Health, said that measles is highly contagious among people who are not fully immunised.
“Measles is spread through coughing and sneezing. Symptoms can include fever, tiredness, runny nose, cough and sore red eyes which usually last for several days before a red, blotchy rash appears. Complications can range from an ear infection and diarrhoea to pneumonia or swelling of the brain,” Dr Sheppeard said.
Dr Sheppeard said that people aged up to 47 years who have not received two doses of measles vaccine are particularly susceptible to measles, however those born before 1966 are usually immune because they had measles during childhood.
“So far this year eight travellers have come to NSW with measles infection, all of whom were under 47 years of age, none of whom had received two doses of measles vaccine,” Dr Sheppeard said.
Measles cases linked to international travellers have also been recently reported in Melbourne and Brisbane.
Susceptible passengers who may have been exposed to measles on this flight could expect symptoms to appear any time between 30 August and 10 September.
“Local public health units are contacting passengers who were seated closest to the infected passenger, however other passengers seated elsewhere on the plane may have been exposed to measles and should also be alert for symptoms.
“Passengers who develop these symptoms should phone ahead when seeking medical attention to ensure they don’t share the waiting area with other patients,” Dr Sheppeard said.
Queensland Health authorities are also following up people who may have been in contact with this case while travelling there.
Dr Sheppeard said that children should receive two doses of measles vaccine at 12 and 18 months of age.
“Young people planning travel should also check with their GP, and have a free measles vaccine if they don’t have written evidence of having received two doses during their lifetime,” Dr Sheppeard said.
For more information on measles, please go to www.health.nsw.gov.au. If you were a passenger on this flight and are concerned you may be at risk of measles phone your local Public Health Unit on 1300 066 055.
Airline: Qantas Airways
Flight number: QF0545
Departure location: Brisbane, QLD
Departure Date/Time: Saturday, 24/8/2013, 17:25
Arrival location: Charles Kingsford Smith Airport, Sydney
Arrival Date/Time: Saturday, 24/8/2013, 19:00