• Wed. Mar 29th, 2023

Qantas measles outbreak: Urgent health warning for Sydney and Canberra Airport

Travellers have been urged to check for measles symptoms after a person with the illness flew home from holidays.

Passengers who travelled through Sydney Airport and Canberra Airport on February 15 are being urged to stay alert for signs and symptoms of illness.

NSW Health confirmed an ACT resident developed the highly contagious infection while travelling in Asia.

NSW Health assisting director of communicable diseases Dr Katherine Todd said while these locations do not pose an ongoing risk, people who may be susceptible to measles and were present at the airports on Wednesday should be alert for symptoms until March 5.

“Those most likely to be susceptible to measles are infants under 12 months of age who are too young to be vaccinated, and anyone who is not fully vaccinated against the disease, which may include some adults,” Dr Todd said.

People may have been exposed to the case in the following locations:

  • Passengers on QF42 from Jakarta to Sydney departing at 7pm on February 14 and arriving in Sydney 6.20am on February 15,
  • In the international arrivals terminal including baggage claim and customs, between 6am and 8am on February 15,
  • Passengers on the Qantas transfers bus between the International and Domestic Terminals on the morning of February 15
  • In the domestic departures terminal of Sydney Airport before 10am on February 15,
  • Passengers on flight QF1433 from Sydney to ACT departing 10am on February 15, and
  • In the domestic arrivals terminal of Canberra Airport, including baggage claim between 11am and 11.30am on February 15.

Those who were on the above flights and who are:

  • under the age of 12 months and have not received a measles vaccine,
  • pregnant and not previously vaccinated against measles,
  • immunocompromised
  • are asked to urgently contact their local public health unit on 1300 066 055 to seek advice.

Dr Todd explained symptoms of measles 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.

“If you develop symptoms, please call ahead to your GP to ensure you do not wait in the waiting room with other patients,” she said.

“The measles-mumps-rubella vaccine is safe and effective protection against measles. It’s 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 safe to have another,.”

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

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