NSW Health is urging people to be alert for signs and symptoms of measles after a Western Sydney infant diagnosed with the infection spent time at a large number of venues while infectious.
The infant is too young to be vaccinated against measles and had not been abroad. An investigation is underway to identify where the infant was exposed to measles.
At this early stage of the investigation, there are no known links to a recent measles case in Western Sydney in an infant who acquired the infection while in India before returning to Sydney.
People may have been exposed to the case at the following locations and should monitor for symptoms:
Dr Christine Selvey, Director of Communicable Diseases, NSW Health, urged parents and their children who attended these venues at these times to be on alert for the early symptoms of measles.
Measles starts off with a fever with cough, runny nose and sore, red eyes. A red blotchy rash appears three to four days later. Anyone who thinks they, or their child, may have measles should isolate and see a GP for a test.
“It can take up to 18 days for symptoms to appear after an exposure, so it is really important to stay vigilant if you’ve been in the above locations and if you or your child develops symptoms, please call ahead to your GP to ensure you do not spend time in the waiting room with other patients,” Dr Selvey said.
“Measles is a highly contagious infection, and the most vulnerable are infants under 12 months, who are too young to be vaccinated against it, other members of the community who are not fully vaccinated and people with a weakened immune system,” Dr Selvey said.
“This case, the second in Western Sydney in recent days, highlights the importance of parents getting their children vaccinated against measles as soon as possible after they turn one.”
Dr Selvey said there are large outbreaks of measles in several overseas countries, so we can expect to see more measles in NSW too.
“With measles in the community, everyone born in or after 1966 should check that they have had two doses of measles vaccine. If there is any doubt, get a vaccine as additional doses are safe,” Dr Selvey said.
The measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) 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. People who are unsure of whether they have had two doses should get a vaccine, as additional doses are safe. MMR vaccine is available from GPs and pharmacies.
For more information, please visit Measles.
If you, or a loved one, is experiencing measles symptoms, or have questions about measles, please call Healthdirect on 1800 022 222.