Another public health warning has been issued after a second case of measles was been confirmed on the NorthLink Shetland to Aberdeen ferry in less than a month.
A “warn and inform” message was sent out yesterday to all passengers who travelled northbound on October 19, southbound on October 20 and northbound on October 21.
All crew members who travelled on those dates have also been notified.
NHS Shetland is working with authorities including Health Protection Scotland to ensure that all control measures are in place to prevent further spread of the disease.
The ferry called at Kirkwall in Orkney on October 19 and passengers who disembarked and embarked there have also been informed that they may have come into contact with the virus.
NHS Shetland Public Health principal Elizabeth Robinson said that the only way to prevent measles is to have the measles vaccination.
She said that measles is a highly infectious disease and it was possible that subsequent cases could occur in susceptible passengers who have not been vaccinated against the disease who travelled on the same ferry journeys.
Passengers who travelled on the ferry are asked to watch out and contact their GPs or Public Health Teams if they develop certain symptoms. This includes a fever of 38C or higher, a generalised rash and either cough, runny nose and/or conjunctivitis.
Ms 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.
She said: “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.”
Captain John Strathearn, operations director for Serco NorthLink Ferries, said: “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.”
A similar public health alert was issued earlier this month. It is believed more than 240 passengers and crew members may have been exposed to the contagious disease when travelling on on the Northlink Ferries-operated vessel from Aberdeen to Shetland on October 7.