09 September 2019

NSW Health is again urging travellers to be fully vaccinated against measles after another case was identified in someone returning from Queenstown in New Zealand’s South Island.

The latest case, a young man from Sydney, is the third measles case in NSW in as many weeks linked to Queenstown. New Zealand is currently experiencing a widespread outbreak of measles with over 1100 cases notified this year, particularly from Auckland but also including 15 recent cases in Queenstown and nearby snowfields.

The man is believed to have been infectious on the return flight to Sydney:

Saturday 31 August – Virgin Airlines flight VA162 from Queenstown to Sydney International Airport Terminal (T1) arriving around 2.40pm.

NSW Health Acting Director Communicable Diseases, Dr Christine Selvey, said after his return he visited the Northern Beaches Hospital Medical Centre on three different days:

  • Tuesday 3 September, arriving at 5pm and leaving at 6.15pm
  • Thursday 5 September, arriving at 5.45pm and leaving at 7pm
  • Friday 6 September, arriving at 12.30pm and leaving at 3pm.

Dr Selvey said people who had been in the medical centre or nearby at those times should be alert for measles symptoms until 24 September, 2019.

“It can take up to 18 days for symptoms to appear following exposure to a person with measles. Anyone who develops symptoms should arrange to see their GP and call ahead to ensure they don’t wait alongside other patients,” Dr Selvey said.

“Symptoms to watch out for include fever, sore eyes and a cough followed three or four days later by a red, blotchy rash that spreads from the head to the rest of the body.”

Local public health units are following up with people who may have been in contact with the measles case.

Measles is a vaccine preventable disease that is spread through the air when someone who is infectious with the disease coughs or sneezes.

“Measles is one of the most contagious diseases for humans but two doses of measles-mumps-rubella vaccine provide lifelong protection against measles in 99 out of 100 vaccinated people,” Dr Selvey said.

NSW Health makes the measles vaccine available free for infants from six months of age, and anyone born during or after 1966 who doesn’t have two documented doses of measles vaccine.

“If you’re unsure whether you’ve been vaccinated against measles in the past, it’s safe to have a dose.”

The NSW Government is investing $130 million in the 2019-20 Immunisation Program budget, including Commonwealth and state vaccines.

For more information visit: health.nsw.gov.au/measles

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