NSW Health is alerting recent travellers to Bali to watch for measles symptoms after two people – a Sydney resident and a Brisbane resident – returned to Australia infected with the disease.
Both travellers were on Virgin Airlines flights from Denpasar, Bali, to Sydney on two days last week.
The Sydney resident was infectious in the following locations between 28 February and 6 March:
- 28 February – Virgin Airlines Flight VA70 from Bali, Indonesia, departing Denpasar at 10.30pm local time and arriving in Sydney at 7.30am on 1 March
- 4 March – a pharmacy on Auburn Road in Auburn at around midday
- 4,7 and 8 March – NAS Medical Centre, Auburn
- 6 March – Auburn Hospital Emergency Department. (NSW public health staff members are directly contacting other members of the public known to have visited the medical centre and emergency department at the same time as the infectious case.)
The Brisbane resident was infectious while in transit in Sydney between 2 and 3 March:
- 2 March – Virgin Flight VA70 Denpasar (Bali) to Sydney, departing at 10.30pm (local) and arriving in Sydney at 7.30am on 3 March
- 3 March – morning – Sydney International Airport
- 3 March, 8.00am – Terminal transfer bus from International to Domestic Terminal
- 3 March, morning – Sydney Domestic Airport
- 3 March – Virgin Flight VA932 Sydney to Brisbane, departed Sydney at 9.00am, arriving in Brisbane at 9.30am.
This is the second measles warning NSW Health has issued this week alone and the fourth this year, with the total number of measles cases statewide now at eight for 2017. All NSW residents contracted the disease overseas.
Dr Vicky Sheppeard, Director Communicable Diseases NSW Health, said Sydney residents should be mindful of measles symptoms, particularly if they have not been vaccinated and have spent time in the places frequented by the infected people.
“Symptoms to watch include fever, sore eyes and a cough followed three or four days later by a red, blotchy rash spreading from the head and neck to the rest of the body,” she said.
Dr Sheppeard said it was important to be vaccinated against measles, not only protect yourself but to protect others through “herd immunity”.
“The risk of contracting measles is higher in certain overseas countries, and vaccination is your best protection against this disease, so it’s important to seek advice from your doctor on the appropriate vaccinations to have ahead of overseas trips,” she said.
“The greater the number of people vaccinated, the greater the herd immunity which helps to protect vulnerable people, such as infants under 12 months who are too young to have the measles vaccination.
“Measles is highly infectious and is spread through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. If you or a family member experiences symptoms it’s important to go to your GP as soon as possible as measles can have serious complications, particularly for young children.”
A highly effective measles vaccine, MMR, has been freely available for many years for adults and children. Two doses of the measles vaccine are required for maximum protection.