Measles is a serious disease that is easily spread through the air. Immunisation is effective in preventing the disease. All children and adults born during or after 1966 should be vaccinated with two doses of MMR vaccine (which protects against Measles, Mumps and Rubella) if not already immune.
NSW Health advises people to be alert for signs and symptoms of measles infection following diagnosis of the fourth case of measles infection in NSW in September. The most recent case occurred in an adult from South Western Sydney Local Health District, and is unrelated to previous cases in the Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District.
Information on exposure sites for the South Western Sydney case can be found in the Measles alert - September - South Western Sydney
Alerts issued by Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District for residents of Lithgow and Richmondremain current. Further details on risk exposure areas for these cases can be found in the measles alert - September 2018.
These follow earlier alerts regarding unrelated cases of measles in:
- an unvaccinated child visiting NSW from South East Asia, who spent time in a number of locations around Sydney, NSW, and the ACT while unknowingly infectious.
- a cluster of cases on the Mid-North Coast linked to unvaccinated children who aquired the infection while travelling in South East Asia.
For further details on risk exposure areas for these cases see the measles alerts - August 2018.
Measles is highly contagious and is spread in the air through coughing or sneezing by someone who is unwell with the disease.
Anyone who has not received two doses of measles containing vaccine is at risk of catching measles if exposed. People born in Australia before 1966 are generally considered to be immune, as measles was much more common during this time.
In NSW measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine and measles, mumps, rubella, varicella (MMRV) vaccine are offered to children at 12 months and 18 months of age respectively, as part of the National Immunisation Program.
NSW Health encourages all travellers to ensure they are fully protected against measles prior to overseas travel, as measles remaisn endemic in many areas including parts of Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, and outbreask are currenlty occurring across Europe and parts of South America.
People travelling with children aged less than 12 months are encouraged to discuss their travel plans with their doctor as the first dos eof the measles vaccine can be given at a younger age for children travelling to areas of high risk for measles.
People born between 1966 and 1994 should not assume they have received two doses of vaccine, due to changing vaccination schedules during this period. People who are unsure if they have received two doses of a measles vaccine in the past can safely be given another measles vaccine. Measles vaccine is available for free from GPs, for people born during or after 1966 who do not have documented evidence of having received two doses.
The time from exposure to onset of symptoms is generally about 10 days, but can be as long as 18 days.
For further information please see the fact sheet or contact your local public health unit on 1300 066 055.
Also see the Measles Information site for further measles information and campaign posters.