MoH warns people on UAE flight linked to measles case

Sun, Feb 5
Measles is a disease that can spread easily.

Health agencies have asked travellers on a flight to Melbourne from Abu Dhabi on the 28 January and who then flew on to New Zealand, to contact them if they haven't already been approached. It comes amid a warning that those on the same flight, may have been exposed to measles.

The call follows confirmation of a case of measles in Australia linked to the flight.

As a result of a warning alert from the Australian Health authorities on Thursday evening, 36 travellers thought to be most at risk from potential exposure have now been contacted and advised of precautions to limit the risk of spread of measles.

Initially health services in New Zealand understood that all the ongoing travellers to New Zealand from that flight had been identified, but authorities are now aware that some travellers may have also been on other flights to New Zealand, which is now prompting a broader alert, a statement from Te Whatu Ora, Health New Zealand (HNZ) said.

"The National Public Health Service within Te Whatu Ora have made the calls to check immunity, offer vaccination where appropriate, and also advise on a short period of quarantine where this is recommended."

Symptoms of measles can develop between 7 to 18 days after exposure.

The person with measles remains in Australia, HNZ said.

"New Zealand health services remain in contact with their Australian counterparts to monitor any further developments.

"At this stage, the public health risk associated with these close contacts is considered low but this is a timely reminder that New Zealand remains at risk of measles being imported into New Zealand following international travel."

New Zealand is one of 81 countries verified by the World Health Organization (WHO) as having eliminated endemic measles. New Zealand has not seen sustained transmission of measles in the community for longer than a year since 2014.

The flight number is: ETD462/EY462 which departed Abu Dhabi Airport on 27 January at 10.15 am and arrived in Melbourne on Saturday 28 January at 6.00am. HNZ told 1News a number of different flights from Melboune may have then been taken by affected travellers.

HNZ said affected travellers should contact Healthline on 0800 611 116.