Department of Health

New measles case in visitor to Victoria

28/03/19
Published by Department of Health & Human Services

Please see the attached CHO Alert in relation to a case of recently diagnosed measles.

The case acquired the illness overseas and was in transit through Melbourne airport for several hours on Tuesday, 19 March.

This case is unrelated to any of the eight previous measles cases notified to the Department of Health and Human Services so far this year.

Quotes attributable to Victoria's Chief Health Officer, Dr Brett Sutton:

"Anyone who is unvaccinated is at highest risk of contracting measles. People need to have received two doses of measles-containing vaccine to be fully protected. Many adults have only received one vaccine against measles and therefore most cases are in this age group.

"Most people born before 1966 will have been exposed to measles in childhood, and therefore will be protected.

"This means if you are an adult born in or after 1966 - especially if you are planning travel overseas - you may be susceptible and should contact your GP to get vaccinated - and a free Measles, Mumps, Rubella vaccine is available.

There is a lot of measles circulating in our region currently, including much of South East and Southern Asia. All travellers need to be aware of this risk."

Below is a summary of the exposure sites for the most recent measles case in Victoria.

Date Time Location
Tuesday 19 March 3:30pm - 7pm JQ517 Sydney to Melbourne
Melbourne Airport - Terminals 2 and 4
Tuesday 19 March 6:35pm -11:35pm Flight VA99 from Melbourne to Christchurch

This is a timely reminder for individuals to check their vaccination records. Free measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine is now available for adults born during or since 1966 who do not have documented evidence of receiving two doses of a measles-containing vaccine or do not have documented evidence of immunity.

Children or adults born during or since 1966 who do not have documented evidence of receiving two doses of a measles-containing vaccine or do not have documented evidence of immunity are considered to be susceptible to measles. People who are immunocompromised are also at risk.

Clinical features of measles include prodromal fever, a severe cough, conjunctivitis and coryza, followed by a maculopapular rash starting on the face. Individuals, especially children, are typically unwell. The infectious period of patients with measles is roughly five days before, to four days after, the appearance of the rash.

Measles is highly infectious and can persist in the environment for up to two hours.

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

All overseas travellers should be prepared for travel and be aware of health issues and measures to protect themselves from sickness while overseas.

Further information can be found at the Better Health Channel's travel health tips section.

Reviewed 28 March 2019

Health.vic

Contact details

Bram Alexander Department of Health Media Unit

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