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Measles case on Virgin flight from Melbourne to Christchurch sparks alert for others on plane

A passenger who arrived in Christchurch on a Virgin Australia flight from Melbourne a week ago has been confirmed as having measles, prompting a warning from health authorities to others on the flight.

The Canterbury District Health Board says all passengers and crew on flight VA99 on Tuesday March 19 have been exposed to measles. 

Flight VA99 left Melbourne at 6.35pm local time and arrived in Christchurch at 11.35pm NZ Standard time on March 19.

Anyone who travelled on this flight who isn't sure they have been fully immunised should check their immunisation status with their General Practice team or family doctor, the DHB said tonight. 

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, it said in a statement. 

Any passenger or crew on VA99 on the March 19 who is not fully protected should stay at home and remain isolated for a week from today - Tuesday March 26 until Tuesday April 2.  They can return to work if they are not unwell on Wednesday April 3.

Canterbury Medical Officer of Health Dr Alistair Humphrey says people from the flight who may have measles should stay in self-imposed isolation for a week from today.

"If you were on this flight and aren't fully immunised against measles, you should also call anyone you have been in the same room with today to let them know that they too have been exposed to measles. This new secondary set of contacts will need to remain isolated for 14 days unless they are fully immunised," Dr Humphrey said.

The measles case from the flight takes the total confirmed cases in Canterbury to 35.

- administration of antigenic material (vaccine) to stimulate an individual's immune system to develop adaptive immunity to a pathogen.
Measles vaccine (file picture). Source: istock.com