The outbreak of measles that affected mainly Western and South Western Sydney this year is in a steady decline. However to prevent a resurgence of cases, check that you and your children have been vaccinated.
Since April 2012, over 170 cases of measles have been diagnosed in NSW making this the largest outbreak since 1997. The outbreak peaked in September and numbers have been falling steadily since early October. One confirmed case has been reported in November. The outbreak started when a young adult returning home from overseas while infectious transmitted the measles virus to susceptible contacts. Most of the subsequent cases have been in unvaccinated adolescents and adults under 40 years of age, and in infants under 12 months of age who are too young to be vaccinated.
NSW has high measles immunisation coverage rates in children aged 2 years (94%) and five years (91%); however the measles virus is highly contagious and is easily transmitted to unprotected people in the community.
Measles/mumps/rubella (MMR) vaccine is recommended at 12 months and again at 4 years of age and is free of charge. People born during or after 1966 who have not received two doses of MMR vaccine should visit their local doctor to receive free vaccine as soon as possible. The MMR vaccine is very safe and effective.
MMR vaccine is provided through a variety of services, including: General Practices, some Community Health Services, Local Councils and Aboriginal Medical Services.
Further information on measles is available through healthdirect Australia on 1800 022 222 or on the NSW Health website at http://www.health.nsw.gov.au