04 March 2019
NSW Health is alerting Sydney residents and plane passengers after an overseas visitor and baby were diagnosed with measles.

These latest diagnoses of the highly-contagious disease has pushed the total number of people infectious with measles in NSW since Christmas to 19.

A woman aged in her 20s developed a measles rash a few days after arriving in Sydney from Bali, Indonesia on February 21. 

The woman was infectious while on Qantas flight QF44, which arrived from Bali at Sydney International Airport at 6:30am on Thursday 21 February. 

Passengers on this flight and people at Sydney International Airport around her arrival time, including baggage carousels and customs areas, are advised to watch for signs and symptoms of measles until 16 March.  

While infectious, the woman also:
  • Stayed at the Langham Hotel, 89-113 Kent Street, Sydney
  • Visited the Opera House on Thursday February 21
The woman attended St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney but did not require admission. 

The local public health unit is working with St Vincent’s to provide information to other patients present in the emergency department at the same time.

The infant, who was too young to receive their routine measles vaccine, developed measles within days of returning home to Sydney from the Philippines.

While infectious the infant visited:
  • Macquarie Shopping Centre, Tuesday February 26, between 1pm and 2pm
  • My Health Macquarie, Friday March 1, 10:15am - 11:30am and Saturday March 2, 11:30am - 12pm
  • Macquarie Shopping Centre, Saturday March 2, between 9am and 12pm
  • Penny Lane Café, 1/31 Brighton St, Curl Curl, Sunday March 3, between 8am and 9am
  • Northern Beaches Hospital, Sunday March 3, between 12:40pm and 1:45pm 
NSW Health’s Communicable Diseases Branch Director Dr Vicky Sheppeard said while the sites do not pose any ongoing risk to the public, people who were at the locations at the same time as the infant should look out for symptoms until March 21. 

“If you develop symptoms please call ahead to your GP so you do not wait in the waiting room with other patients,” Dr Sheppeard, said.   

The local public health unit is working with the My Health Macquarie medical centre and Northern Beaches Hospital to contact other patients who were present when the infant attended to offer preventive treatment, if needed.

The time from exposure to the onset of symptoms is between a week and 18 days. Symptoms 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.

Outbreaks of measles in popular tourist destinations means the risk for measles being imported into Australia at the moment is high. 

NSW Health urges everyone to ensure they are fully vaccinated before heading overseas. Infants under 12 months of age can receive their first measles vaccine as early as 9 months old to protect them when they travel.

“The measles-mumps-rubella vaccine is safe and effective protection against measles,” Dr Sheppeard said.

“It is free for anyone born during or after 1966 who hasn’t already had two doses. If you’re unsure whether you’ve had two doses, it’s quite safe to have another.”

Measles is highly contagious and is spread in the air through coughing or sneezing by someone who is unwell with the disease. 

For more information on measles visit: health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/measles/Pages/default.aspx