The Department of Health and Human Services is alerting tourists and locals throughout the state to the signs and symptoms of measles.
Deputy Chief Health Officer Dr Brett Sutton said many people may have been exposed to the virus between Saturday March 3 and Wednesday March 7 in a large number of city and rural locations.
"An infected woman, in her 20s, visited a number of tourist locations and popular sites across Melbourne," Dr Sutton said.
"She is now being treated in hospital.
"People who develop illness over the next two weeks should alert their doctor or hospital emergency department," Dr Sutton said.
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 March 21.
Locations visited include:
- Saturday, March 3 - Flinders Backpackers (Elizabeth Street, Melbourne), Flinders Street railway station, tram routes 16 and 96 to and from St. Kilda beach, St Kilda beach;
- Sunday March 4 -- Flinders Backpackers, Coles Central (Flinders & Elizabeth St), McDonalds (Elizabeth St);
- Monday March 5 -- Flinders Backpackers, Philip Island, Nobbies Visitor Centre Café;
- Tuesday March 6 -- Flinders Backpackers, Westpac Bank (Elizabeth Street), Medicare office (Galleria Shopping Centre, Bourke Street); and
- Wednesday March 7 -- Flinders Backpackers, multiple sites along the Great Ocean Road between Geelong and Warrnambool.
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.
Reviewed 09 March 2018