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Measles Case in Melbourne - 8 August 2013


Date issued: 8 August 2013

Issued by: Dr Rosemary Lester, Chief Health Officer, Victoria

Issued to: Hospital Emergency Departments and General Practitioners within metropolitan Melbourne

Key messages

  • A confirmed case of measles has occurred in Melbourne over the last week.
  • This case was acquired locally from an unidentified contact. The case flew on a domestic flight to Melbourne on 31 July, spent time whilst infectious at Hoyts cinema at Northland on Thursday afternoon August 1 and attended an East Brunswick medical practice on Saturday morning August 3.
  • With an average incubation period of 10 days, any secondary cases will start to present from this time onwards.
  • Be alert for measles in patients presenting with a febrile rash.
  • Minimise the risk of transmission within your department/practice through immediate isolation of suspected cases.
  • Notify the Communicable Disease Prevention and Control section at the Department of Health on
    1300 651 160 of suspected and confirmed cases immediately.
  • Take blood for serological confirmation and nose and throat swab for PCR diagnosis.

What is the issue?

Within the last week the Department of Health has been notified of one confirmed case of measles. Measles is highly infectious (airborne transmission) and secondary cases are likely to occur.

Who is at risk?

Children or adults born during or since 1966 who do not have documented evidence of receiving doses of a measles-containing vaccine or documented evidence of laboratory-confirmed measles are considered to be susceptible to measles. People who are immunocompromised are also at risk.

Symptoms and transmission

Clinical features of measles include prodromal fever, a severe cough, conjunctivitis, coryza and Koplik’s spots on the buccal mucosa. These are present for three to four days prior to rash onset.
The most important clinical predictors are the following features:

Measles is transmitted by airborne droplets and direct contact with discharges from respiratory mucous membranes of infected persons and less commonly by articles freshly soiled with nose and throat secretions. Measles is highly infectious and can persist in the environment for up to two hours.

The incubation period is variable and averages 10 days (range: 7 – 18 days) from exposure to the onset of fever, with an average of 14 days from exposure to the onset of rash. The infectious period of patients with measles is roughly five days before, to four days after, the appearance of the rash.


More information

Clinical information

Consumer information


For further information please contact the Communicable Disease Prevention and Control section at the Department of Health on 1300 651 160 (business hours) or 1300 790 733 (after hours).

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  Measles Case in Melbourne - 8 August 2013

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