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 detection of the virus in a child from the Sutherland Shire region.
Information on exposure sites can be found in the Measles alert - November - South Eastern Sydney.
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.