A SECOND case of measles has been confirmed on a ferry service between Shetland and Aberdeen.

NHS Shetland has issued a "warn and inform" alert in relation to three separate sailings of the Northlink ferry between October 19 and 21.

Passengers and crew should be vigilant for measles symptoms if they were on:

- the Aberdeen to Shetland sailing on October 19

- the Shetland to Aberdeen sailing on October 20

- the Aberdeen to Shetland sailing on October 21

It has not been confirmed whether it was a passenger or crew member on these sailing who subsequently fell ill with measles.

The virus, which is highly contagious, causes a fever, rash, dry cough, runny nose or conjunctivitis.

Symptoms typically wear off in a week to 10 day, but in rare cases it can lead to serious and potentially life-threatening complications including pneumonia and encephalitis - swelling of the brain.

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Earlier this month NHS Grampian contacted passengers who had travelled on the MV Hrossey, operated by Northlink ferries, from Aberdeen to Shetland on the night of Monday October 7 to warn them that a passenger had gone on to develop measles.

The only way to prevent infection is to be immunised against measles.  

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NHS Shetland's public health principal Elizabeth Robinson said an immediate programme of vaccination had already begun in the isles 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.”