A China Airlines female flight attendant who contracted the viral disease, rubella, or German measles had worked on six different flights during her period of communicability, according to Taiwanese health authorities.
Last week on Mar. 14, the woman from northern Taiwan developed symptoms of the infection to include fever, runny nose, cough and rash. On the following day, she sought medical attention at a medical center. On March 18, rubella infection was confirmed.
Prior to her disease onset, she had traveled to Vietnam, Indonesia and Hong Kong. As a result, the Taiwan CDC has determined her to be an imported case and the 2nd confirmed rubella case in Taiwan this year.
According to health officials, she worked on six different flights, including flights CI116 and CI117 that traveled to and from Taoyuan and Fukuoka on March 8, flights CI110 and CI111 that traveled to and from Taoyuan and Fukuoka on March 10 and 11, and flights CI753 and 754 that traveled to and from Taoyuan and Singapore on March 13 and 14.
Contact tracing has identified 686 contacts, including her family members, her fellow crew members, passengers on the same flights, healthcare personnel and patients that she came into contact with when she sought medical attention, to monitor and follow up until April 11.
Passengers on the flights are urged to contact their local health officials and to be aware of rubella symptoms and monitoring their health for the next 21 days. Pregnant women who took the same flight are urged to seek medical attention to determine the need for treatment.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Rubella, sometimes called German measles or three-day measles, is a contagious disease caused by a virus. The infection is usually mild with fever and rash. It is spread by contact with an infected person, through coughing and sneezing.
While symptoms of rubella are typically mild- a rash that starts on the face and spreads to the rest of the body, low fever and body aches, if a pregnant woman gets rubella virus, her baby could have birth defects such as deafness, cataracts, heart defects, mental disabilities, and organ damage. The health problems due to the infection are called congenital rubella syndrome.