The child of parents who actively chose not to vaccinate has exposed a plane load of international travellers to the measles virus.
The three-year-old, from Victoria, is now recovering in a Melbourne hospital after becoming sick while in Indonesia. The family were not aware the child had contracted measles when they boarded the plane.
Passengers who travelled on a Garuda Indonesia flight from Jakarta to Melbourne have been urged to be on high alert for symptoms of the infectious disease.
The impacted flight is GA 716 arriving at Tullamarine airport on Saturday, May 13, at 9.20am.
The Dr Sutton of the Department of Health and Human Services has urged passengers who were on the Garuda Indonesia to be aware of the symptoms of measles.
“Measles is a highly infectious viral disease that can cause serious illness, particularly in very young children and adults,” Dr Sutton said. “People with measles are often hospitalised. Serious complications can also result including pneumonia.”
Measles cases in Victoria are typically linked to international travel, especially where people have come from Indonesia where the incidence of the highly contagious virus is high.
Those who are most likely to contract the disease are travellers who have not been vaccinated or those who have been in contact with unvaccinated travellers on their return. Adults aged 26 to 42 years are most at risk of contracting measles given they have lower immunisation coverage while most adults over 42 would be protected due to being exposed as children.
Anyone with symptoms is urged to contact their GP or hospital before arrival for treatment. For more information on measles please see the information below.
There have not yet been any further confirmed cases of measles from passengers on the Garuda Indonesia flight.
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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