Students, train passengers and shoppers in Sydney and Maitland are being advised to watch out for symptoms of measles after a young woman was diagnosed with the highly-contagious disease.
The university student, who is in her 20s and had been vaccinated, brings the State’s measles notifications to 35 since last Christmas.
Two doses of measles vaccine provides lifelong protection in 99 out of 100 people who are vaccinated. While the risk of infection is low in fully-vaccinated people, health experts urge anyone who comes into contact with someone who has measles to remain alert for symptoms.
The woman was unknowingly infectious while at:
None of the locations visited by the woman pose an ongoing risk. The local public health unit is working with Maitland Hospital to directly contact patients who were there at the same time as the woman.
NSW Health Director of Communicable Diseases Vicky Sheppeard said people in these locations at the time should be alert for symptoms up to at least April 23, 2019.
“We cannot stress enough the need for holidaymakers to be vaccinated before travelling to South-East Asia because the majority of cases we are seeing are being brought home,” Dr Sheppeard said.
“NSW already has record immunisation rates but the community is not fully covered and measles is highly contagious and can stay in the air for up to 30 minutes after an infected person has left a room.
“If you’re not sure if you have had two doses of measles vaccine which provides lifelong protection in 99 out of 100 people, it is safe to get another jab, particularly if you’re heading overseas.”
Symptoms include fever, sore eyes and a cough followed three or four days later by a red, spotty rash that spreads from the head to the rest of the body. If infected, people should call ahead to their GP or hospital to ensure they don’t expose people in the waiting room.
Dr Sheppeard said preventive injections can also be given to highly-susceptible people up to six days after exposure to measles. People can contact their local public health unit for advice on 1300 066 055.
The NSW Government has invested approximately $130 million in the 2018-19 Immunisation Program budget, including Commonwealth and state vaccines.
The latest Annual Immunisation Coverage Report shows vaccination rates in NSW are at their highest level ever, with more than 95 per cent of five year olds vaccinated against measles.
For more information visit Measles.