Victorian health authorities have issued a Measles Alert to Melbourne Airport visitors last week after a man contracted measles on a flight from Kuala Lumpur last Wednesday.

They’re now concerned for those he may have come into contact with both onboard and once landed.

The man in his 40s became unwell on AirAsia flight D7241 from Kuala Lumpur, according to a Victorian Department of Health statement released this afternoon.

After the man’s flight landed at Tullamarine Airport, he was taken to hospital and diagnosed with measles.

Measles is highly infectious and airborne and can stay in the environment for up to two hours.  Just being in the same room as someone with measles can result in infection.

It has an incubation period of between seven and 18 days which means “new cases may not show symptoms of the highly infectious illness until later,” Dr Sutton warns.

The department says anyone who had not been vaccinated is at risk of contracting measles and have since issued this  measles alert to  warn others.

“We are working with airline officials to identify and contact passengers who shared the international flight into Melbourne,” Deputy Chief Health Officer Dr Brett Sutton

“People who were at Melbourne Airport last Wednesday particularly around the international baggage collection area, who develop illness over the next week should alert their doctor or hospital emergency department.”

The illness usually begins with common cold symptoms such as runny nose, red eyes and a cough, followed by fever and rash, Dr Sutton said.

Measles is highly infectious and airborne and can stay in the environment for up to two hours.  Just being in the same room as someone with measles can result in infection.

What to watch for:

Symptoms of measles

First symptoms include fever, tiredness, cough, runny nose, sore red eyes and feeling unwell. A few days later a rash appears. The rash starts on the face, spreads down to the body and lasts for 4-7 days. The rash is not itchy.

People with measles are usually infectious from just before the symptoms begin until four days after the rash appears. The time from exposure to becoming sick is usually about 10 days. The rash usually appears around 14 days after exposure.

What are the risks?

  • Up to a third of people with measles have complications. These include ear infections, diarrhoea and pneumonia, and may require hospitalisation.
  • About one in every 1000 people with measles develops encephalitis (swelling of the brain).

For more information on the measles outbreak in Victoria, please see our previous article on measles outbreaks as well as current health warnings. 

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