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Passenger with measles on LA to Auckland flight may have spread the disease, health authority says

Auckland Regional Public Health Service (ARPHS) says a person who travelled on a flight from Los Angeles to Auckland last week may have infected non-immune passengers.

ARPHS Public Health Medicine specialist Dr Maria Poynter says an Auckland resident was infectious with measles on a flight departing Los Angeles on Thursday August 15, landing in Auckland on Saturday August 17.

Air New Zealand flight NZ001 from LA to Auckland left at 9.40pm and arrived at 5.30am on August 17.

"There is some risk that other passengers may contract measles if they are not immune. We would ask that anyone on this flight checks their medical records if they are under 50 years to see if they have had a least one MMR vaccination, or have had the measles previously, making them immune," Dr Poynter says. 

"They should also watch out for symptoms over the next few days - a fever, runny nose, cough, sore red eyes and then a rash. Unfortunately people are infectious five days before the rash appears, so don’t usually know they have measles. They continue to be contagious for five days after this," she says.

She says any passengers on the flight who start to feel unwell should phone their doctor or call Healthline on 0800 611-116 for advice.

"If you feel unwell, please don’t just turn up. It is important to call first, because measles is highly infectious and you could infect others in the waiting room." 

Air New Zealand, A320 (file picture). Source: istock.com