A public health alert has been issued to hundreds of ferry passengers after it emerged a passenger was diagnosed with measles.
More than 240 passengers and crew members were at risk of catching the contagious disease.
The incident emerged when NHS Grampian contacted passengers travelling on the Northlink Ferries operated vessel – MV Hrossey – from Aberdeen to Shetland on the night of Monday October 7.
One passenger who was on board that night was Sylvia Leask who was travelling in a large party of eight, including her children.
She received the letter from NHS Grampian via email.
She said: “The email came totally out of the blue.
“Thankfully everyone in our party – including all of my children – are fully vaccinated so it wasn’t of too big a concern for us.
“We spent most of our time in the cabin area and hadn’t come into contact with anyone so although it could have been more serious, for us it’s not.”
NHS Grampian and Northlink Ferries have said they are working together to try and address the vast number who have potentially been exposed to the disease, with 244 onboard the MV Hrossey on the night of October 7.
An NHS Grampian spokeswoman said: “We are currently working with partners to investigate a single case of measles in an adult.
“Measles is a highly infectious viral illness which causes a range of symptoms including fever, coughing, and distinctive red-brown spots. The infection is easily spread and you can catch measles through direct contact with an infected person, or through the air when they cough or sneeze.
“Measles is most common among young children, but anyone who has not been fully immunised can catch it.
“The safest and most effective way of preventing measles is the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine. Two doses of MMR vaccine are required to ensure full protection.
“We would encourage everyone to make sure their vaccinations are up to date.
“It’s never too late to get vaccinated. You can check with your GP practice to find out what vaccinations you may be eligible for.”
Captain John Strathearn, operations director for Serco NorthLink Ferries, said: “We are following NHS protocols and instructions.
“We are working closely with the NHS, which is informing all relevant passengers and crew to ensure they have the required information.”
Shetland MSP Beatrice Wishart commended the organisations for working together, however, added that “swift and robust action” must take place to curb any potential spread of the disease.
She said: “This incident underlines just how important it is to prevent infection in the first place. We know that is best done by ensuring a full course of vaccinations in childhood.
“It is imperative that those on that crossing, and indeed anyone who thinks they might recognise these symptoms, take this advice seriously.”