NSW Health Alert – Watch Out For Measles
NSW Health is today warning the public to be alert to the symptoms of measles after three young men were confirmed to have been in the community while infectious with measles in the last week.
Dr Vicky Sheppeard, Director of Communicable Diseases at NSW Health said that measles is highly contagious among people who are not fully immunised.
“Measles is highly infectious and is spread through coughing and sneezing. Symptoms can include fever, tiredness, runny nose, cough and sore red eyes which usually last for several days before a red, blotchy rash appears. Complications can range from an ear infection and diarrhoea to pneumonia or swelling of the brain,” Dr Sheppeard said.
She advised that the three young men (aged 25 – 35 years) have recently spent time in Earlwood, Hurlstone Park, Alexandria and Waterloo, while potentially infectious with measles. The men also visited local medical centres in Rozelle, Croydon, Rockdale as well as the Royal Prince Alfred Emergency Department while infectious during the past week.
The time from exposure to the onset of symptoms is typically around 10 days but can be as long as 21 days, so there may be other cases in the community now or people who will be developing symptoms over the next few weeks.
Dr Sheppeard advised parents of infants or other people who aren’t fully vaccinated against measles to be on the lookout for symptoms of measles.
“If symptoms develop please phone ahead when seeking medical attention to ensure you don’t share the waiting area with other patients,” Dr Sheppeard said.
“Measles is now a rare disease but it is important to emphasise it is currently circulating in the community and that people who have not had two doses of vaccine may be at risk.”
“We encourage anyone who has not previously been vaccinated to do so. Children should receive two doses of vaccine, one at 12 months and the second at 18 months. Children over 18 months who have not had their second dose of measles vaccine can be vaccinated now. Anyone born after 1966 should have two doses of vaccine (at least 4 weeks apart).”
“If you haven’t already been immunised, NSW Health offers free MMR (Measles Mumps and Rubella) vaccine through GPs for people up to 47 years of age.”