Another measles alert as infectious traveller lands at Sydney Airport

Measles is highly infectious. Picture: Shuttershock

Measles is highly infectious. Picture: Shuttershock

Anyone who was in the international arrivals terminal at Sydney Airport on January 22 is urged to keep an eye out for symptoms of measles after an infectious passenger arrived back in the country.

NSW Health is alerting passengers following a new diagnosis of measles in a returned traveller.

The woman was infectious on her flight from Singapore to Sydney SQ231 departing Singapore airport at 12:42 am on January 22 and arriving at Sydney International Airport at 11:58 am on January 22.

Passengers on this flight and people in Sydney International Airport around lunchtime on this date, including baggage carousels, customs and the arrivals area are advised to watch for signs and symptoms of measles until February 9.

The woman developed a rash a few days after returning from the Philippines, where she is likely to have been infected.

She was briefly hospitalised due to her illness, but has since been discharged and is recovering. She was not infectious during her hospital stay.

The local public health unit is working with a medical practice visited by the woman while she was infectious, contacting other patients present at the same time and offering preventive treatment, if needed.

The time from exposure to the onset of symptoms is from a week to 18 days. These sites do not pose any ongoing risk to the public. 

This case brings the total number of cases since Christmas to 12.

“If you develop symptoms please call ahead to your GP so you do not wait in the waiting room with other patients,” branch director of communicable diseases, Vicki Sheppeard, said.   

“The measles-mumps-rubella vaccine is safe and effective protection against measles. It is free for anyone born during or after 1966 who hasn’t already had two doses. If you’re unsure whether you’ve had two doses, it’s quite safe to have another.”

Outbreaks of measles in popular tourist destinations means the risk for measles being imported into Australia at the moment is high. NSW Health urges people travelling to South East Asia, where measles is prevalent, to ensure they are fully vaccinated before heading overseas.

Measles is highly contagious and is spread in the air through coughing or sneezing by someone who is unwell with the disease.

Symptoms include fever, sore eyes and a cough followed three or four days later by a red, blotchy rash spreading from the head and neck to the rest of the body.