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Measles Case on Abu Dhabi-Dublin Flight Prompts Health Alert

Photo: AFP

An urgent health alert has been issued to passengers who were on board an Etihad Airways flight from Abu Dhabi to Dublin, following the confirmation of a measles case among travelers. The Health Service Executive (HSE) of Ireland has urged specific passengers, particularly those who are pregnant, immunocompromised, or traveling with children under 12 months old, to come forward and contact them.

Passengers displaying symptoms or falling within the aforementioned categories have been advised to reach out to their local HSE Department of Public Health or contact the HSE directly at 1800 700 700. If calling from outside of Ireland, individuals should dial 00 353 1 240 8787.

Furthermore, the HSE has encouraged all passengers who were on the flight to be vigilant for signs and symptoms of measles. Monitoring for potential symptoms is recommended until March 30, marking 21 days from the potential date of exposure.

Symptoms of measles include a runny nose, sneezing, coughing, sore or red eyes, fever of 38°C or above, and a rash that typically starts on the head and neck before spreading to the body.

Passengers who develop symptoms are advised to self-isolate at home and seek medical advice over the phone.

Etihad Airways, in response to the situation, has stated that they are following safety procedures in accordance with guidelines provided by health authorities. The airline reassures passengers that all necessary contact tracing measures will be conducted by the respective authorities, prioritizing the safety and well-being of passengers and crew.

The Public Health Agency in Northern Ireland has also issued a call for vigilance among residents who were on the flight, urging them to be aware of measles symptoms and seek medical attention if necessary.

This health alert comes amid growing concerns over measles outbreaks, with a recent fatality in Ireland and increasing cases in the UK and Europe. Poor vaccination coverage, exacerbated by missed immunizations during the COVID-19 pandemic, has been identified as a contributing factor to the rise in cases.

Measles complications can be severe, including blindness, encephalitis (brain swelling), severe diarrhea, ear infections, pneumonia, and other respiratory problems. Children under five years old and adults over 30 are particularly at risk of complications.

The World Health Organization (WHO) emphasizes that measles can be transmitted by an infected person from four days before the onset of the rash to four days after the rash appears. Vigilance and prompt medical attention are essential in mitigating the spread of the virus.

March 13, 2024 3:29 p.m. 12764

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