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Measles update for Metro South including Redlands area

8 November 2019

Metro South Health region currently has 24 confirmed cases of measles from Brisbane's southside, Logan and Redland Coast areas.

Metro South Health public health physician Dr Kari Jarvinen said most cases from the past month are from two family groups as well as contacts of previous cases including a recent case from a high school in Redland.

“People across Brisbane’s Southside and the Redland area, 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.

“Our concern is about the risk of transmission in high school environments, particularly as we head towards the end of the school year with celebratory events. We need parents and students to be alert for symptoms and transparent about reporting their illness so that we can prevent the further spread of measles,” he said.

The Public Health Unit is working closely with the school involved to inform the school community of the situation.

“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.

“If people are adequately 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.

Individuals likely to be infectious have visited multiple locations in the community since 15 October 2019. See the health alerts website for details: 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 15 November 2019
Last reviewed 8 November 2019

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