Department of Health

Health alert on measles

16/05/18
Published by Department of Health & Human Services

The Department of Health and Human Services is alerting Melbourne residents and visitors to the signs and symptoms of measles, following a confirmed case of the disease.

An Australian born man in his 20s became infectious after returning from south east Asia earlier this month and is currently being treated in hospital.

Victoria's Deputy Chief Health Officer Dr Brett Sutton said the Melbourne man was not infectious on his return flight to Australia from Bangkok on May 4.

However, he may have been infectious while at a number of locations between 8 and 13 May 2018.

These are:

  • 8 May 2018 - Noble Park Aquatic Centre 7am to 4pm, Goodlife Health Club Dingley 6.30-7.30pm
  • 9 May 2018 - Noble Park Aquatic Centre 7am to 4pm, Goodlife Health Club Chelsea Heights 5-6pm
  • 10 May 2018 - Noble Park Aquatic Centre 7am to 4pm
  • 11 May 2018 - Noble Park Aquatic Centre 7am to 4pm
  • 12 May 2018 - Chez Dré café South Melbourne 10-11am, Westfield Fountain Gate, Narre Warren 1.30-3pm (including YOMG burger restaurant).

People who were in these locations who develop illness over the next week should alert their doctor or hospital emergency department. None of these locations need be avoided now as there is no ongoing risk of acquiring measles there.

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 often need to be hospitalised.

"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," he said.

"Anyone developing symptoms is advised to ring ahead to their general practitioner or hospital first and tell them that they may have measles so that appropriate steps can be taken to avoid contact with other patients."

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 that 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.

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 52 have 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 16 May 2018

Health.vic

Contact details

Bram Alexander Department of Health Media Unit

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