Department of Health

More cases in measles outbreak

01/10/17
Published by Department of Health & Human Services

The number of cases in Victoria’s measles outbreak has risen to 11, with four more confirmations over the weekend.

The Department of Health & Human Services advises that eight of the 11 cases over the past two weeks have a connection, mainly through a city workplace or its immediate surroundings.

Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Professor Charles Guest said a common factor linking the eight cases was the Collins Square building in Collins St at Docklands.

People who work in or around that area, or other identified places where those who were infected with the illness have been during their infectious period, need to be aware of the signs and symptoms of the disease, Professor Guest said.

As well as the workplace, locations visited by confirmed cases during their likely infectious period but before they were diagnosed include:

  • September 20-22: Metro trains – North Richmond, Southern Cross, Murrumbeena and South Yarra Stations.
  • September 22: the Australian Ballet’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland at the State Theatre.
  • September 23: MCG – AFL Preliminary Final (Gate 5, Level 4); Greville St, Prahran; Chapel St, Windsor; Maribyrnong Boathouse, The Boulevard, Moonee Ponds.
  • September 24: Melbourne International Airport, Qantas Club Lounge (8-10am); Qantas flight QF 29 to Hong Kong; KMart Moonee Ponds; DFO Essendon.
  • September 20: Melbourne International Airport, Jetstar flight JQ 26, arriving from Denpasar.

Measles has an incubation period of seven to 18 days so those who visited these locations might develop symptoms up until mid-October, Professor Guest 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 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, Professor Guest 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 GP or hospital first and tell them that they have fever and a rash 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.

Professor Guest 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.

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 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: Better Health Channel

Media inquiries

Graeme Walker, Department of Health & Human Services Media Unit, (03) 9096 7296, 0409 237 543
e-mail: graeme.walker@dhhs.vic.gov.au

Reviewed 01 October 2017

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