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Measles alert for people on flight to WA

by October 27, 2016 General
Australian Associated Press

West Australians are being warned about an increased risk of measles after a Singapore Airlines passenger caught the illness while on holiday in Japan before returning home to Perth.

The passenger’s first flight was SQ633 from Tokyo, arriving in Singapore about 11pm on October 20, and they then flew to Perth on SQ225, arriving about 5.15am the next morning.

The Health Department warns fellow passengers may have been exposed, as well as anyone in the arrival area at Perth Airport international terminal, Mead Medical Centre in Forrestfield on that Friday between 11am and midday, and the nearby St John of God Pathology collection centre between 11.20am and 12.30pm.

Exposure was also possible at Pathwest Collection Centre at Kalamunda Hospital on October 24 between 4.30pm and 5pm, Jetts 24 Hour Fitness in Forrestfield that same day from about 11.30am to 12.40pm, and Dome cafe in Kalamunda between about 2pm and 4pm.

WA Health medical epidemiologist Gary Dowse said staff had been contacting potentially exposed people directly where possible, but that it was impossible to identify and specifically warn people in public places.

Dr Dowse said measles – a highly contagious viral illness spread when infected people coughed and sneezed – was contagious for about four days before and after the development of a rash.

“Children and adults who have been unwittingly exposed are at risk of developing measles if they are not immune,” he said.

A person is immune if they have previously received two doses of a vaccine or were born before 1966.

Dr Dowse said anyone who developed a fever with other symptoms including cough, runny nose, sore red eyes and a rash within three weeks of potential exposure to someone with measles should stay home and consult a doctor.

“Anyone who thinks they are infected should call ahead and mention their possible contact with measles so they can be isolated when they arrive at the GP surgery or emergency department to prevent infecting other patients and staff,” he said.