10 January 2020

NSW Health is urging people to ensure they are fully protected against measles, following another locally acquired case being reported. The man, whose vaccination history is unable to be verified, is the seventh person to have acquired the infection in NSW since Christmas.

Dr Christine Selvey, NSW Health Acting Director of Communicable Diseases, said “it is important for anyone born after 1965 to make sure they have received two doses of measles vaccine, as two doses provides the best protection against measles. People who are unsure of their vaccination history can safely receive another dose.”

“People usually catch measles during overseas travel, however the number of recent cases with exposures in and around Sydney means many people may have been exposed locally and could be developing symptoms now or over the coming days and weeks”.

“Symptoms of measles include fever, cough, runny nose and sore red eyes, followed 3 to 4 days later by a red spotty rash which starts on the head and spreads to the rest of the body. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should seek medical attention, but call ahead to your doctor or emergency department so that your exposure to others can be limited on arrival.”

People in the following locations at the following times may have been exposed to this most recent case and should be particularly alert for signs and symptoms of measles until 27 January, as it can take up to 18 days for symptoms to develop.

  • Sunday 5 January:
    • Woolworths Matraville, 497-501 Bunnerong Rd Matraville, between 9:30am and 10:15am
  • Monday 6 January to Thursday 9 January:
    • Central Auto Care, 1/347 Princes Highway St Peters, between 7:15am and 5:00pm
  • Wednesday 8 January:
    • ER McNamara Smash Repairs, 375-355 Princess Highway Sydenham, in the morning
    • Hungry Jack’s St Peters, 400 Princes Highway St Peters, between 12:00m and 2:00pm
  • Thursday 9 January:
    • ER McNamara Smash Repairs, 375-355 Princes Highway Sydenham, in the morning

These locations pose no ongoing threat to the public.

Measles vaccine may help prevent measles in unvaccinated people if given within 72 hours of an exposure to a measles case, and another treatment (immunoglobulin) can be given for unvaccinated people at higher risk of measles complications up to 6 days after exposure.

People at high risk of measles complications include:

  • children from birth to 11 months (who are too young for routine measles vaccination)
  • pregnant women who haven’t had a measles vaccination
  • people with a weakened immune system due to illness or treatment.

Unvaccinated people who attended the same locations on the same day and at the same time as this case should contact their local public health unit on 1300 066 055 for advice.

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

Anyone born during or after 1966 needs to ensure that they have received two measles shots.

“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 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 another dose.”

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

For more information visit Measles.