Measles alert at Sydney airport

Passengers passing through or visiting the Sydney airport last week were warned about a possible exposure to highly contagious viral illness measles after one of them tested positive for the disease.

The health warning was issued by the NSW Health authorities who said that an infected man possibly arrived at the Sydney airport on the morning of Sunday the third of February 3. He was travelling on a Qatar Airway’s flight 906 from Doha. He was at the terminal for three hours before he went on to board a connecting flight to Canberra. The man was ill before his flight said the officials.

Measles rash. Image Credit: Phichet Chaiyabin / Shutterstock
Measles rash. Image Credit: Phichet Chaiyabin / Shutterstock

The warning released on 8th of February 2019 advises the man’s co-passengers on the flight QR906 and those who were present at the terminal during the time (between 6am and 9am last Sunday) to look for signs and symptoms of measles until 21st of February. NSW Health communicable diseases branch director Dr Vicky Sheppeard said in a statement, “If you develop symptoms please call ahead to your GP so you do not wait in the waiting room with other patients.” the health authorities emphasize that the threat is one time and there is no present threat at the airport.

Measles is a viral disease that is highly contagious and spreads via aerosols that are coughed or sneezed out by an infected person. The symptoms of the infection may take around 7 to 18 days to appear and include sore and red eyes, fever, cough, runny nose and a typical rash that is red and blotchy and spreads all over the body.

According to the NSW Health, this is the ninth alert for measles this year (tenth since 29th of December 2018) and the risk of measles being carried into the country is high due to outbreaks of measles at the holiday destinations abroad. The authorities urge all travellers to be vaccinated against this vaccine-preventable disease before travelling to countries where this disease is prevalent. This includes countries of south and south-east Asia.

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Written by

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Dr. Ananya Mandal is a doctor by profession, lecturer by vocation and a medical writer by passion. She specialized in Clinical Pharmacology after her bachelor's (MBBS). For her, health communication is not just writing complicated reviews for professionals but making medical knowledge understandable and available to the general public as well.

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