Global Travel Media » Blog Archive » Pilot with measles raises questions for Cathay Pacific

Home » Headline News » Currently Reading:

Pilot with measles raises questions for Cathay Pacific

March 28, 2019 Headline News No Comments Email Email

As Hong Kong battles a fresh outbreak of measles (along with other world cities including New York) Hong Kong’s aviation authority wants to know why Cathay Pacific apparently allowed a pilot with measles to fly seven times in four days.

Hong Kong has recorded 20 measles cases so far this year (a five-year high), five of which involve airport and airline staff, according to Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post daily newspaper.

Hong Kong’s Civil Aviation Department is seeking answers from Cathay after one of the carrier’s Hong Kong-based pilots was reported to have flown seven times from 13 to 16 March, despite having symptoms of the highly contagious disease.

The paper said the airline has so far failed to provide a full explanation, after the 41-year-old pilot was taken to Princess Margaret Hospital in Kwai Chung to be treated for measles.

Measles typically begins with:

  • high fever,
  • cough,
  • runny nose (coryza), and
  • red, watery eyes (conjunctivitis).


Two or three days after symptoms begin, tiny white spots (Koplik spots) may appear inside the mouth. A day or two after that, an intensely itchy rash breaks out. It usually begins as flat red spots that appear on the face at the hairline and spread downward to the neck, trunk, arms, legs, and feet.

A 23-year-old Cathay flight attendant who flew on Tokyo and Cebu routes was also reportedly infected with the virus, despite not having come into contact with the pilot.

According to Hong Kong’s Centre for Health Protection, the pilot developed a fever and rash on 12 March.

Cathay says workers who feel unwell “should stay at home”.

“We encourage our employees to be immunised or seek medical help if they are not feeling well,” a spokesman told the South China Morning Post, adding that anyone with measles should not return to work without being cleared by a doctor.

Prevention lies in vaccination

MEANWHILE, measles is spreading like a rash around the world. A county in New York state has declared a state of emergency following a severe outbreak of measles – even though the disease was declared eliminated (absence of continuous disease transmission for greater than 12 months) from the United States in 2000, thanks to a highly effective vaccination program.

Rockland County, on the Hudson River north of New York City, has barred unvaccinated children from public spaces after 153 measles cases were confirmed. Violators can be fined about AUD 700 and jailed for up to six months.

The order follows other outbreaks of the disease in Washington, California, Texas and Illinois. Vaccination rates have dropped steadily in the US because of nonsensical tales spreading on social media about vaccines causing autism in children.

The World Health Organisation has declared the anti-vaccine movement to be one of the top global health threats for 2019.

One in 10 people catching measles requires hospital treatment. The most serious cases can result in damage to the lungs, swelling of the brain or deafness. Measles is infectious before the rash appears and is one of the most infectious airborne diseases.

Authorities say the only way to protect from measles is to be fully vaccinated. Anyone born before 1969 is likely to be immune to the disease, even without having had the vaccine, as children used to catch measles routinely in the days before a vaccine was available. Most of us survived.

Written by Peter Needham

Comment on this Article:

Platinium Partnership


Elite Partnership Sponsors


Premier Partnership Sponsors


Official Media Event Partner


Global travel media endorses the following travel Publication




%d bloggers like this:
%d bloggers like this: