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Health / NHS Shetland confirms second case of measles on NorthLink ferries

NHS SHETLAND has issued a second public health alert after passengers on board of one of the NorthLink ferries could have been in contact with someone diagnosed as carrying the measles virus.

Passengers who have travelled on the northbound ferries on 19 and 21 October and those on the southbound service on 20 October have all been informed.

A second confirmed case of measles on board one of the NorthLink ferry has come to light.

This follows a similar case earlier this month when a passenger travelling on a NorthLink ferry on 7 October may have come in contact with someone carrying the virus.

NHS Shetland said it was working with other relevant authorities including Health Protection Scotland to ensure that all control measures are in place to prevent further spread of the disease. 

The health board public health principal Elizabeth Robinson said that measles was a highly infectious disease and it was possible that subsequent cases of measles could arise in susceptible passengers who have not been vaccinated against the disease who travelled on the same ferry journeys. 

The only way to prevent against measles is to have the measles vaccination, she said.

All crew members who travelled on the above date dates have been notified. 

Passengers who travelled on the ferry are asked to watch out for symptoms and contact their GPs or Public Health Teams in their areas by phone if they develop a:

    • Fever of 38°C or higher
    • AND a generalised rash
    • AND either cough, snotty nose and/or conjunctivitis

Robinson said an immediate programme of vaccination had already begun in Shetland for all children, women of child-bearing age, healthcare workers, social care workers and other young adults who have not had two doses of MMR vaccines or a measles containing vaccine.

“We are aware that there may be increased demand for the MMR vaccine over the next few weeks and we are working on ensuring that sufficient stocks can be made available as soon as possible.”

Operations director for Serco NorthLink Ferries, Captain John Strathearn, added: “We are continuing to work closely with NHS Shetland to follow NHS protocols and instructions. 

“This includes informing all relevant passengers and crew to ensure they have the required information.”