13 September 2022

NSW Health has confirmed the first case of measles in NSW since February 2020.

The case, a person in their 50s, acquired their infection while travelling in Asia last month. The case developed symptoms after returning to Sydney and is now isolated in hospital.

Since becoming unwell the person has spent time in the following locations while infectious:

  • St Andrew’s Catholic Church Malabar for mass, Sunday 4 September at 10.30am
  • Tyree Energy Building, University of NSW on Tuesday 6 September (all day)
  • Lounge Restaurant, University of NSW on Tuesday 6 September, 12.15pm to 2pm
  • Pacific Square, Maroubra on Wednesday 7 September, 9am to 11am

Dr Jeremy McAnulty, Executive Director, Health Protection, NSW Health said that these locations do not pose an ongoing risk but urged people who may be susceptible to measles and were present at the above locations on those days to be alert for symptoms until September 24.

People who have not had two lifetime doses of measles vaccine, a confirmed history of measles infection, or who have a weakened immune system are considered susceptible to measles.

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.

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

“This incident highlights the importance of ensuring that all people able to be vaccinated have received two doses of measles vaccine, particularly prior to overseas travel, as measles outbreaks are occurring in several regions of the world at present.

“Maintaining high rates of measles immunisation within the community reduces the risk of measles being imported into Australia by returned travellers, and through herd immunity, reduces the spread of the virus locally if it is introduced.”

Dr McAnulty said herd immunity provides protection to those unable to be vaccinated such as infants and people with weakened immune systems.

“The measles-mumps-rubella vaccine is safe and effective protection against measles. It’s 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 safe to have another,” Dr McAnulty said.

On 17 June 2022 NSW Health reported a case of measles in a Victoria resident who visited the border region while unknowingly infectious.

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

NSW Health makes the measles vaccine available free to anyone born during or after 1966 who doesn't have two documented doses of measles vaccine.

For more information see Measles.