Health Ministry working to identify people exposed to rubella case on Taiwan flights

SINGAPORE - The Ministry of Health (MOH) is trying to contact passengers who may have been exposed to rubella on two China Airlines flights between Taiwan and Singapore on March 13 and 14.

A flight attendant working on flight CI753 from Taiwan to Singapore and flight CI754 from Singapore to Taiwan was found to have the viral disease, also known as German measles. MOH said it has been notified of the case, and is working closely with Taiwan health authorities and China Airlines to identify people who may have been exposed.

"We will get in touch with close contacts to check on their health status and to advise them to seek medical treatment if unwell," an MOH spokesman said in response to queries from The Straits Times.

The risk of an outbreak of rubella here is low, he added. This is because measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccination coverage in Singapore has been consistently above 95 per cent, and most Singaporeans would be immune through vaccination or natural exposure.

Rubella is a generally mild and self-limiting disease that causes fever and rash to occur among those infected. There were only 12 local cases reported to MOH last year.

The flight attendant from northern Taiwan had developed a fever, runny nose, cough and rash on March 15. She was ordered to stop flying that day after a medical centre diagnosed her with rubella. More than 1,500 passengers could have been exposed.