Queensland Health has been notified of a total of 19 cases of measles on Brisbane's southside area. New cases have come from new family groups as well as contacts of previous cases.
The important message from Metro South Health public health physician Dr Kari Jarvinen is that people need to be alert for symptoms and should seek medical advice early if they develop symptoms, especially if they have unknown immunity to the disease.
“This current outbreak is a timely reminder to stop and think if you have had two doses of Measles Mumps Rubella (MMR) vaccine. You may need both or a booster to be protected,” Dr Jarvinen said.
“Measles is very contagious and remains airborne up to 30 minutes after the person has left the room. It is spread by tiny droplets through coughing and sneezing.
“Early symptoms include fever, runny nose, tiredness and sore, red eyes. This is followed by a blotchy red rash, which often starts on the face before becoming widespread.
“Symptoms usually start around 7 to 10 days after contact with a person with measles but sometimes longer, so anyone who develops measles-like symptoms within the next fortnight should contact their GP for advice.
“Due to the ongoing increased measles transmission in New Zealand, Samoa, surrounding countries and elsewhere overseas, it is particularly important for travellers who are not immune or unsure to get vaccinated before leaving Australia.
“If people are adequately vaccinated with two recorded doses of the MMR vaccine, they are very unlikely to get the disease. Those who are unsure or have concerns about their immunity to measles should contact their doctor to check whether they have had two doses of the vaccine.
“No-one wants to risk becoming ill or requiring hospitalisation for themselves or children, and the subsequent days off work, university, school or daycare.
“Measles can be a serious illness with complications including pneumonia and encephalitis which can be fatal.”
Queensland Health offers free vaccines to anyone born during or since 1966, who has not had two documented doses of measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine or had proven measles. You can also check your local council website for free vaccination clinic locations.
“It is very important to call the medical practice or hospital first to say you could have measles, so that staff can take precautions to avoid spreading the disease to others,” Dr Jarvinen said.
Individuals likely to be infectious have visited multiple locations in the community.
A comprehensive list of alert locations can be found on the Queensland Health, health alerts website: https://www.health.qld.gov.au/news-events/health-alerts/measles
For more information please contact 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84) or visit: http://conditions.health.qld.gov.au/HealthCondition/media/pdf/14/217/91/...