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Health alert: Novel coronavirus (COVID-19)

Measles update for Metro South - Brisbane area

27 November 2019

Metro South Health region currently has 25 confirmed cases of measles from Brisbane's southside, Logan and Redland Coast areas.

The current case has visited a number of premises during their infectious period, including restaurants and cafes in Brisbane southside, the CBD, and some parts of Brisbane northside.

Metro South Health public health physician Dr Kari Jarvinen said that the most recent case also attended the emergency department at Redland Hospital on the afternoon of 25 November through until the early hours (2am) of 26 November 2019. People in attendance at that time are being contacted to ensure they are vaccinated.

“People across Brisbane’s southside 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,” Dr Jarvinen said.

“The current outbreak commenced in early October and was related to infected travellers coming to Queensland from overseas, and then inadvertently transmitting the highly contagious virus to others.

“Our concern now is about the ongoing risk of measles transmission from travellers coming into Australia, and for travellers from here going to overseas areas where there are a number of serious epidemics in progress, particularly in New Zealand and the Pacific region.

“This current outbreak is a timely reminder to stop and think if you have had two doses of Measles Mumps Rubella (MMR) vaccine. You need to have two doses 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,” Dr Jarvinen said.

“If people are vaccinated with two recorded doses of the MMR vaccine, they are very unlikely to get the disease.

“Contact your doctor to check whether you have had two doses of the vaccine. The MMR vaccine is free through your family doctor or immunisation services provider, such as Local Government community immunisation clinics, for anyone born after 1965 who has not already had two doses.

“We also recommend your high school aged children are vaccinated to protect them from the disease ahead of end-of-year parties.

“If you think you may have measles, call or talk to the GP practice or hospital emergency department before going in, so you do not spread the infection to others in the waiting area.”

For measles alerts across Queensland please refer to: https://www.health.qld.gov.au/news-events/health-alerts/measles

The important messages from Dr Jarvinen to contain this very contagious disease are:

New Zealand, Samoa, and surrounding countries are currently experiencing an outbreak so it is important for travellers to get vaccinated before leaving Australia. If you have family and friends visiting from these countries, please check your immune status.

Ensure your high school age children are vaccinated ahead of end-of-year parties.

Be alert for symptoms and seek medical advice early if you develop symptoms, especially if you have unknown immunity to the disease.

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.

Call or talk to the GP practice or hospital Emergency Department before going in, so you do not spread the infection to others in the waiting area.

Have you had two doses of Measles Mumps Rubella (MMR) vaccine? You may need a dose if you are not sure.This is funded (if you were born in 1966 or later).

Last updated 28 November 2019
Last reviewed 28 November 2019

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