A man and a baby have become the latest people in NSW to be diagnosed with measles, bringing the total number of cases in the state since Christmas to 11.
The man, who is aged in his 50s and has no written record of having had a measles vaccination, became ill with the highly-contagious condition before returning home to Sydney from the Philippines.
Dr Vicky Sheppeard, Director Communicable Diseases NSW Health, said the man has been hospitalised due to serious complications from the infection.
He spent time in the following locations while infectious:
- Cebu Pacific Flight 5J41 departing Manila 19 January approximately 11:30pm and arriving Sydney International Airport Sunday 20 January about 10:30am
- Sydney International Airport, Sunday 20 January, late morning to early afternoon
- Train from International Airport to Epping (via Central), arriving Epping approximately 1pm
- Cherrybrook Village Shopping Centre, Monday 21 January from approximately 4 to 6pm and Tuesday 22 January at approximately 9pm
- Hornsby Hospital Emergency Department Tuesday 22 January from approximately 11:30pm to 12:30pm on Wednesday 23 January
“People who were at these locations at the same times should be alert for measles symptoms until February 9 as the time from exposure to the onset of symptoms is from a week to 18 days,” Dr Sheppeard said.
“Please note that these sites do not pose any ongoing risk to the public.”
The local public health unit is working with health services to contact other patients present at the same time and offering preventive treatment, if needed.
The infant, who is from the Dareton region on the NSW-Victorian border and was too young to receive routine vaccinations, has had very limited exposure to NSW residents, but did visit Ritchies Supa IGA, Wentworth, NSW on the afternoon of Saturday 19 January while infectious.
Victoria’s Department of Health and Human Services is coordinating follow up of other people who may have been exposed to the baby while she was infectious.
“If you develop symptoms please call ahead to your GP so that you do not wait in the waiting room with other patients,” Dr Sheppeard said.
The latest cases has prompted NSW Health to again urge people travelling to South East Asia, where measles is prevalent, to ensure they are fully vaccinated before heading overseas.
“The measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine is safe and highly effective protection against measles,” Dr Sheppeard said.
Many people born in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s may have missed routine measles vaccinations due to a number of changes to Australian immunisation programs.
“NSW Health offers free MMR vaccine via GPs for anyone born during or after 1966 who hasn’t already have two doses,” Dr Sheppeard said.
“If you are unsure whether you have had two doses, it is quite safe to have another dose.”
Outbreaks of measles in popular tourist destinations means the risk for measles being imported into Australia at the moment is high.
Measles is highly contagious and is spread in the air through coughing or sneezing by someone who is unwell with the disease.
Symptoms of measles 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.