Urgent warning issued to NI passengers on Dublin Airport flight after measles case confirmed

Any Northern Ireland residents who were on Etihad Airways flight are urged to be aware of the signs and symptoms of measles
-Credit: (Image: Press Association Images)

Health officials on both sides of the border have issued an urgent appeal for passengers on a weekend flight to Dublin Airport to contact them due to contact with measles.

Anyone from Northern Ireland who travelled on the Etihad Airways flight EY45 from Abu Dhabi to Dublin, which arrived on Saturday, March 9th at 6:30am, is asked to contact the Public Health Agency (PHA).

The public health alert has been issued following confirmation that a passenger on the plane, a resident of the Republic of Ireland, had contracted measles.

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Following a risk assessment with public health colleagues in the Health Service Executive (HSE), the PHA is asking any residents of Northern Ireland who were on the flight to be aware of the signs and symptoms of measles.

Those who are at greatest risk of severe illness from measles are asked to please contact the PHA on (028) 9536 8300 as they may be eligible to access appropriate treatments. These treatments will work best if given within the next few days.

Those who are at greatest risk are those who were on Etihad Airways flight EY045 and are:

  • children under 12 months old;

  • pregnant women;

  • people who are immunocompromised.

Helpline number and opening hours:

If you are in one of the at-risk groups listed above and were on the flight, call (028) 9536 8300. Phone lines are open: Wednesday 13th March from 9am-8pm and Thursday 14th March from 9am-8pm.

It is anticipated that the number of Northern Ireland residents who were on the flight and are in these at-risk groups may be small. However, with a growing number of measles cases across the globe, it is important that all those on the flight and the general public stay alert to the signs and symptoms to help stop the spread of the measles.

The initial symptoms of measles can include:

  • a high temperature (fever);

  • a runny or blocked nose;

  • sneezing;

  • a cough;

  • sore, red eyes that may be sensitive to light;

  • a few days later, a red-brown blotchy rash will appear. This may start on the head or upper neck, before spreading outwards to the rest of the body.

Most childhood rashes are not measles but you should consult your GP without delay if:

  • you suspect it is measles;

  • symptoms worsen;

  • temperature increases to above 38°C;

  • temperature stays high after other symptoms have gone.

The PHA says it continues to work closely with colleagues in HSE.

A spokesperson added: "As measles is very infectious it is important that anyone with suspected measles avoids situations where they can spread the disease, such as nursery or childcare, school, work, a GP waiting room or an emergency department.

"People should phone in advance and get advice rather than turning up to a healthcare setting.

"The PHA is currently rolling out a mass vaccination drive in collaboration with health trusts and GP surgeries for all those aged between 12 months and 25 years who missed getting one or both of their MMR (mumps, measles and rubella) vaccines first time round.

"The PHA is urging children and young adults who have not received both doses of the MMR vaccine to do so as soon as possible, to reduce their risk of catching and spreading measles."

For further information on measles see www.nidirect.gov.uk/conditions/measles. For information on the MMR vaccination catch-up programme, see www.nidirect.gov.uk/mmr-catch-up.

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