NSW Health is advising people to be alert for symptoms of measles after a second case was diagnosed in as many days. A local woman diagnosed with the infection visited a number of locations in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs and Inner West while infectious. The young woman had not travelled prior to her illness and has no known links to previously identified measles cases.
Dr Christine Selvey, NSW Health Acting Director of Communicable Diseases said, “This is the second case of measles in two days in a person who has not travelled overseas. This is a reminder for everyone to check that they are protected against measles, which is extremely infectious.”
“As it’s not clear where this woman acquired her infection, it is important that everyone is on the lookout for the early signs of measles, particularly people born during or after 1966 who have not had 2 doses of measles vaccine.
“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. 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.
“The measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine is safe and highly effective, with two doses providing lifelong protection in 99 out of 100 people who are vaccinated. Anyone born during or after 1966 needs to ensure that they have received two measles shots. If you’re unsure whether you’ve been vaccinated against measles in the past, it’s safe to have a dose.”
The woman is believed to have been infectious from 28 December 2019. She has visited many locations and travelled on buses and trains in the Eastern Suburbs and Inner West while infectious:
Saturday 28 December
Sunday 29 December
Monday 30 December
Wednesday 1 January
Saturday 28 December – Thursday 2nd January
28 December 2019
29 December 2019
30 December 2019
31 December 2019
While the locations pose no ongoing threat to the public, people who may have been exposed to the woman, by being in the same place at the same time, are at risk of developing measles until 19 January, as it can take up to 18 days for symptoms to develop following exposure to measles. 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 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:
Measles is a highly infectious vaccine preventable disease that is spread through the air when someone who is infectious coughs or sneezes.
NSW Health makes the measles vaccine available free for anyone born during or after 1966 who doesn’t have two documented doses of measles vaccine.
The NSW Government is investing $130 million in the 2019-20 Immunisation Program budget, including Commonwealth and state vaccines.
For information about the other recent case of measles, please see: Measles alert after Inner-West Sydney diagnosis.
For more information about measles visit: NSW Health - Measles.