Measles warning for New Zealanders on international flight after case discovered

Medical form with diagnosis Measles on a table.
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The Ministry of Health is warning that New Zealand passengers on a flight in January from Abu Dhabi to Melbourne may have been exposed to measles.

Health agencies are asking anyone on an international flight ETD426/EY462 from Abu Dhabi to Melbourne arriving at 6am on 28 January and who then flew on to New Zealand to please contact Healthline if they have not already been contacted by health officials.

A case of measles in a person who is in Australia has been linked to the flight.

The Ministry of Health - Manatū Hauora and Health New Zealand - Te Whatu Ora say there are no reported cases of measles in New Zealand.

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 here understood that all the ongoing travellers to New Zealand from that flight had been identified, though authorities are now aware that some travellers may have also been on other flights to New Zealand which is now prompting a broader alert.

At this stage, the public health risk associated with these close contacts is considered low, the ministry said, 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 as having eliminated endemic measles.

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

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