NSW Health, and health authorities in Victoria and New Zealand have issued warnings for passengers on two international and two Australian domestic flights to be alert for signs and symptoms of measles after a passenger travelling from Phuket to Christchurch via Sydney and Melbourne was diagnosed with the illness.

The flights and areas of the airport that the passenger spent time in are provided in the table below.

Passengers on these flights, and people in the airports at the same time as this person should be alert for signs and symptoms of measles until 6 April, as it can take up to 18 days for symptoms to present following exposure to a person infectious with measles.

Measles is a highly infectious viral illness which is spread easily through the air when an infectious person coughs, sneezes, or breathes. The virus can survive in the air for short periods of time, so simply being in the same room as someone who is infectious with measles can result in infection if you are not immune. 

People are susceptible to measles if they have never had measles, or have not received two doses of measles vaccine. People with weakened immune systems (e.g., people who are receiving chemotherapy or radiotherapy for cancer or people who take high-dose steroid medications), may also be susceptible, even if they have been vaccinated in the past.

More information about measles can be found below, and on the measles webpage.

Virgin Flights JQ28 and JQ517, Sydney Airport International and Domestic Terminals, and Virgin Australia flight VA99
Monday 18 March - Tuesday 19 March 2019

​Date ​Location
​Monday 18 March - Tuesday 19 March 2019 ​Jetstar Flight JQ28 departing Phuket Monday 18 March at 9:45pm, arriving Sydney T1 international Terminal Tuesday 19 March 10:30am
​Tuesday 19 March 2019

​Sydney Airport T1 International Terminal, including baggage carousels, Customs and arrivals area from 10:30am to approximately 12:30pm

Sydney Airport T2 Domestic Terminal, including check in and gates from approximately 12:30pm to 2:30pm

Jetstar flight JQ517 departing Sydney at 2:00pm arriving Melbourne Airport Terminal 4 at 3:35pm

From Melbourne the traveller continued onto Christchurch from Melbourne Airport Terminal 2 on Virgin Flight VA99 departing Melbourne at 6:35pm and arriving at Christchurch Airport at 11:35pm.

About Measles

Measles generally begins with a fever, cough, runny nose and/or sore, red eyes, followed a few days later by a red, spotty, non-itchy rash which starts on the face and spreads to the body and limbs. People with measles may also experience diarrhoea and this is more common in small children.
People who are experiencing signs and symptoms of measles should seek medical attention. NSW Health recommends calling ahead to the practice or emergency department to alert of them of your symptoms so that measures can be taken to limit your exposure to others upon your arrival.
Measles is a serious illness, and complications such as diarrhoea, middle ear infection and pneumonia occur in up to one third of cases. Measles encephalitis is swelling of the brain caused by the measles virus and occurs in up to one in 1000 cases. A fatal condition known as sub-acute sclerosing pan encephalitis occurs in 1 in 10000 cases and is a progressive neurological disorder which presents years after measles infection.
People are at risk of measles if they are exposed to an infectious case and have never had measles or have not received two doses of measles containing vaccine. Two doses of measles containing vaccine provide lifelong protection against infection in 99 per cent of vaccinated people. People born before 1966 are assumed to be immune to measles.
NSW Health encourages all people 12 months of age or older, and born during or after 1966 make sure they have received two doses of measles vaccine. For people who are unsure of whether they have previously received two doses, it is safe to receive more than two.
Travellers are encouraged to discuss their travel plans with their GP to ensure that they are protected against preventable diseases such as measles prior to travel. People travelling with children between the ages of 9 months and 18 months of age should discuss travel plans with their doctor, as the vaccination schedule can be adjusted for children travelling to high risk areas for measles.
For more information download the  measles factsheet, or visit the measles webpage.  

Current as at: Wednesday 27 March 2019
Contact page owner: Communicable Diseases