Department of Health

Measles alert for Melbourne’s south east

20/02/18
Published by Department of Health & Human Services

The Department of Health and Human Services is alerting people in Dandenong and Melbourne's south east to be aware of the signs and symptoms of measles.

Deputy Chief Health Officer Dr Brett Sutton said a measles infection may have been acquired at Centrelink in Dandenong between January 22 and February 2.

"The man in his 40s visited a number of places in Melbourne's south east while infectious," Dr Sutton said.

"People who develop illness over the next week should alert their doctor or hospital emergency department."

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 Tuesday March 6.

Locations visited include:

Thursday 8 February 2018

  • Centrelink Dandenong, 8.00 am – 5.00 pm

Friday 9 February 2018

  • Centrelink Dandenong, 8.00 am – 5.00 pm
  • Mountain Gate Cricket Club, Ferntree Gully, 6.00 – 8.00 pm
  • Dan Murphy's Rowville, 8.30 pm

Saturday 10 February 2018

  • Fairhills High School basketball stadium, Knoxfield, 9.30 – 10.30 am
  • Rowville Secondary College basketball stadium, Rowville, 2.30 – 3.30 pm

Sunday 11 February 2018

  • Belgrave Cricket Ground, 11.30 am – 6.30 pm

Monday 12 February 2018

  • ABC Costume Hire, Wantirna South, 3.00 – 4.00 pm

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 20 February 2018

Health.vic

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