A measles vaccine
IN PHOTO: A measles vaccine REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

Brisbane has issued a measles alert after an infected man travelled through the city’s international airport. The person from New Zealand spent time at the airport’s transit lounge on July 24 while travelling from Bali to Wellington. Queensland Health has warned those who were in the airport during that time to be alert for measles symptoms such as runny nose, lethargy, fever and a telltale rash.

The young New Zealander was on Virgin Airlines flight VA46 from Denpasar, Bali, to Brisbane on Sunday, July 24. He spent sometime in the Brisbane Transit Lounge and then took a connecting flight on the same day from Brisbane to Wellington on Virgin Airlines flight VA104. Queensland Health’s Dr. Heidi Carroll said that people need to be alert and watch out for measles-like symptoms.

“The initial symptoms of measles include fever, lethargy, runny nose, moist cough and sore and red eyes. This is followed a few days later by a blotchy, red rash which often starts on the face and then becomes widespread over the body,” Carroll told the ABC.

She added that anyone who caught measles as a result of this contact with the infected man already has or will be starting to show symptoms of infection over the next few days. The measles symptoms usually start appearing about 10 days after contact with an infected person. However, there have been cases where symptoms appeared between seven and 18 days after contact.

Carroll advised those who may have come in contact with the infected person or those who are not sure about their immunity to measles to consult their doctors immediately. Measles is a highly infectious disease and definitely one of the most infectious of communicable diseases. Persons contract measles tiny droplets through sneezing and coughing. It “is actually infectious for four days before the rash appears.”

Travellers have also been requested to check their measles vaccination status before they leave the country.