NSW Health has issued an alert following the diagnosis of measles in two people in Western Sydney. The two cases are unrelated, but both occurred in people recently returned from travel to South East Asia.
This alert details exposures of one case, related to an international flight, Blacktown and Stanhope Gardens. Exposures for the other case, related to Eastwood Shopping Centre can be found in the measles alert - Eastwood.
A teenager was diagnosed with measles after becoming unwell on a return flight from the Philippines. The teenager is reported to have been vaccinated against measles in his country of birth, however the number of doses received was not able to be verified.
Large outbreaks of measles are currently occurring in a number of regions of the Philippines. This poses a significant risk to Australia as unvaccinated, or inadequately vaccinated individuals, are at risk of acquiring the infection while travelling and exposing others upon return to Australia.
The teenager was infectious on CEBU Pacific flight 5J41 from which departed Manila on Saturday 16 March, and arrived in Sydney on Sunday 17 March. While infectious the case also visited a restaurant in Blacktown, and a medical centre in Stanhope Gardens. Details of potential exposure sites, dates and times are provided in the maps and table below.
People in the same locations at the same time as the teenager, who may be susceptible to measles such as:
- children under the age of 12 months,
- people with a weakened immune system (e.g. from cancer therapy or high dose steroid use),
- those who do not have evidence of having received two doses of measles containing vaccine or past measles infection;
should contact their local public health unit on 1300 066 055 for advice as preventive injections can be given for up to six days after exposure, for highly susceptible people.
People who were in the same locations at the same time as the teenager are advised to be alert for signs and symptoms of measles until 5 April as it can take up to 18 days for symptoms to present, following exposure to a person infectious with measles.
More information about measles can be found below, or on Measles.
CEBU Pacific Flight 5J41, Blacktown and Stanhope Gardens - Saturday 16 March to Monday 18 March 2019
Map 1: International flight and Sydney Airport
Map 2: Blacktown and Stanhope Gardens
Maps created using Arc GIS Portal (Sources: Esri, OpenStreetMap contributors, CC-BY-SA)
|Saturday 16 March to Sunday 17 March 2019
||CEBU Pacific flight 5J41 departing Manila at 11:30pm on Saturday 16 March, arriving Sydney at 10:30am on Sunday 17 March|
|Sunday 17 March 2019
Sydney Airport's T1 International Terminal, including baggage carousels, customs and arrivals area between 10:30am and 1:15 pm
Pacific Chinese Restaurant, 4/6 Lyton Street Blacktown between 2pm and 3:15pm
|Monday 18 March 2019
||Stanhope Medical and Dental Centre, Stanhope Shopping Village, 26/2 Sentry Drive Stanhope Gardens between 2:45 pm and 4:00pm.|
These sites pose no ongoing risk to the public.
Measles is a highly contagious viral illness, which is spread easily through the air when an infectious person coughs, sneezes or breathes. The measles virus can remain in the air for short periods of time, so simply being in the same room as a person with measles can result in infection if you are not immune.
Measles generally begins with a fever, cough, runny nose and/or sore, red eyes, followed a few days later by a red, spotty, non-itchy rash which starts on the face and spreads to the body and limbs. People with measles may also experience diarrhoea and this is more common in small children.
People who are experiencing signs and symptoms of measles should seek medical attention. NSW Health recommends calling ahead to the practice or emergency department to alert of them of your symptoms so that measures can be taken to limit your exposure to others upon your arrival.
Measles is a serious illness, and complications such as diarrhoea, middle ear infection and pneumonia occur in up to one third of cases. Measles encephalitis is swelling of the brain caused by the measles virus and occurs in up to one in 1000 cases. A fatal condition known as sub-acute sclerosing pan encephalitis occurs in 1 in 10000 cases and is a progressive neurological disorder which presents years after measles infection.
People are at risk of measles if they are exposed to an infectious case and have never had measles or have not received two doses of measles containing vaccine. Two doses of measles containing vaccine provide lifelong protection against infection in 99 per cent of vaccinated people. People born before 1966 are assumed to be immune to measles.
NSW Health encourages all people 12 months of age or older, and born during or after 1966 make sure they have received two doses of measles vaccine. For people who are unsure of whether they have previously received two doses, it is safe to receive more than two.
Travellers are encouraged to discuss their travel plans with their GP to ensure that they are protected against preventable diseases such as measles prior to travel. People travelling with children between the ages of 9 months and 18 months of age should discuss travel plans with their doctor, as the vaccination schedule can be adjusted for children travelling to high risk areas for measles.
For more information download the measles fact sheet, or visit Measles.