NSW Health has warned of a measles outbreak in Western Sydney announcing there are now 10 confirmed cases.
They today released a list of dates and places infectious people have been, asking people who think they may have been exposed to have a preventative injection.
NSW Health are further urging people to be vaccinated fearing there could be many more cases in the next days.
Measles is an airborne virus and highly contagious. According to NSW Health and via 7 News Sydney the infected people have been in the following locations in Sydney:
• Wyndham College at Quakers Hill: 28-30 March
• The train between Flemington and Quakers Hill: 28-30 March
• Fairfield District Medical Centre: 26 and 31 March
• Fairfield Hospital Emergency Department: 1 April
• Westmead Children’s Hospital Emergency Department: 1-2 April
• Pharmacy 4 Less Auburn: 8 March – 4 April
• NAS Medical Centre: Auburn – 3 April
Public health units are contacting people known to have been in those locations to offer preventive injections, as appropriate. However it will not be possible to identify and contact all people who may have been exposed to the disease.
NSW Health is urging people in western Sydney to take advantage of the free measles vaccine, available at GPs, and to watch for measles symptoms, particularly in babies who are too young to receive this vaccination.
Symptoms of measles include fever, sore eyes and a cough followed three or four days later by a red, blotchy rash spreading from the head and neck to the rest of the body.
NSW Health’s Director Communicable Diseases, Dr Vicky Sheppeard, said “This brings the total number of cases in NSW, with onset this year, to 19. The recent cases reinforce the importance of getting vaccinated. A highly effective measles vaccine has been freely available for many years and it is vital for everyone, including adults and children, to have two doses of the measles vaccine during their lifetime.
If you develop the symptoms of measles, seek medical advice. Please call ahead to your doctor or emergency department so that arrangements can be made to keep you away from others to minimise the risk of infection.”
Parents of infants or others who are not fully vaccinated against measles are being urged to receive the free medication.
Dr Sheppeard said people with measles symptoms should seek medical advice as soon as possible, stay home from work or school, and limit other activities to avoid exposing other vulnerable people, such as infants, to the infection.
What is measles?
- Measles is a viral disease that may have serious complications.
- In the past, measles infection was very common in childhood. Measles is now rare in NSW because of immunisation but many areas of the world continue to experience outbreaks. In 2008 there were 164,000 deaths worldwide due to measles.
What are the symptoms of measles?
- The first symptoms are fever, tiredness, cough, runny nose, sore red eyes and feeling unwell. A few days later a rash appears. The rash starts on the face, spreads down to the body and lasts for 4-7 days. The rash is not itchy.
- Up to a third of people with measles have complications. These include ear infections, diarrhoea and pneumonia, and may require hospitalisation. About one in every 1000 people with measles develops encephalitis (swelling of the brain).
How are measles spread?
- Measles is usually spread when a person breathes in the measles virus that has been coughed or sneezed into the air by an infectious person. Measles is one of the most easily spread of all human infections. Just being in the same room as someone with measles can result in infection.
- People with measles are usually infectious from just before the symptoms begin until four days after the rash appears. The time from exposure to becoming sick is usually about 10 days. The rash usually appears around 14 days after exposure.
For more information you can find the NSW Health Measles Fact Sheet here.
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