Department of Health

Health alert following two new measles cases in Victoria

Published by Department of Health & Human Services

The Department of Health and Human Services has alerted Victorians to the signs and symptoms of measles following two new cases - one of whom attended the preliminary final at the MCG on Saturday.

These new cases - an adult man and an adult woman who are both recovering at home - are linked to two cases notified to the Department earlier this month.

Deputy Chief Health Officer Dr Brett Sutton said both these cases had visited a number of places between September 20 and September 23 while they were infectious, but before they were diagnosed.

The locations visited include:

  • September 20 - Metro trains- North Richmond, Southern Cross, Murrumbeena, South Yarra stations. Wholesale Pharmacy Balaclava, Virgin Active Gym (Collins St), Collins Square
  • September 21 - Metro trains- North Richmond, Southern Cross stations, Collins Square
  • September 22- Metro trains- North Richmond, Southern Cross stations. Wholesale Pharmacy Balaclava, Virgin Active Gym (Collins St), Collins Square
  • September 23 - Church St, Victoria St, Punt Rd and Swan St (Richmond), The Posty Bar (Richmond), MCG - AFL preliminary final (Gate 5, Level 4) Section Q13, Row Y, Seat 12
  • September 24 and 25 - Carnegie area

"Measles has an incubation period of up to 18 days so those at risk of measles who visited these locations might show symptoms up until October 13," Dr Sutton said.

Measles is a highly infectious viral disease that can cause serious illness, particularly in very young children and adults. People can develop pneumonia and other serious complications from the disease, and those with measles often need to be hospitalised.

Dr Sutton said people at risk of measles should be vigilant and aware of the symptoms.

"The illness usually begins with common cold symptoms such as runny nose, red eyes and a cough, followed by fever and rash," Dr Sutton said.

"The characteristic measles rash usually begins 3-7 days after the first symptoms, generally starting on the face and then spreading to the rest of the body.

"Anyone developing symptoms is advised to ring ahead to their GP or hospital first and tell them that they have fever and a rash."

The disease is now uncommon in Australia because of the widespread use of the measles vaccine.

It is important to continue immunising children because of the risk the infection can be brought in by travellers arriving from overseas.

Dr Sutton said most cases of measles in Victoria were linked to international travel, with the disease more prevalent in many countries overseas, especially in Bali at present.

"People most likely to develop the illness were unvaccinated people who have travelled overseas, or unvaccinated people who have been in contact with them on their return," Dr Sutton said.

"The measles vaccine is currently recommended on the National Immunisation Program at 12 months and again at 18 months. Immunisation is the best protection against measles."

Anyone who is unvaccinated is at risk of contracting measles. Adults aged between 26 and 42 years have a lower immunisation coverage than younger adults and children and therefore most cases are in this age group. Most people over the age of 52 will have been exposed to measles in childhood, and therefore will be protected.

Further information about measles can be found at the Better Health Channel.

Reviewed 27 September 2017


Contact details

Bram Alexander Department of Health Media Unit

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