NSW Health Alert – Watch Out For Measles
After three young men were confirmed to be infectious with measles last week, NSW Health is warning the public to stay alert to the symptoms of measles.
According to Dr Vicky Sheppeard, Director of Communicable Diseases at NSW Health, measles is more contagious among individuals who are not fully immunised.
“Measles is highly contagious and spreads through coughing and sneezing. The symptoms are fever, runny nose, cough, tiredness and sore red eyes which usually last for several days before a red, blotchy rash appears. In severe cases chances of an ear infection, diarrhea, pneumonia or swelling of the brain are possible,” Dr Sheppeard said.
Three young men (aged 25 – 35 years) have recently spent time in Earlwood, Hurlstone Park, Alexandria and Waterloo while being infectious with measles, she advised. During the past week, these men also visited local medical centres in Rozelle, Rockdale, Croydon and the Royal Prince Alfred Emergency Department while being infectious.
Typically, the time period from exposure to the onset of symptoms is 10 days, but it can extend to 21 days, so there may be few people in the community now who are likely to develop symptoms over the next few weeks.
Dr Sheppeard advised both parents of infants and other individuals to watch for symptoms of measles especially if they aren’t fully vaccinated against measles.
“If symptoms occur seek medical attention as soon as possible to ensure you don’t have to share the waiting area with other patients,” Dr Sheppeard adds.
“Although measles is a rare occurring disease, it is important to pay attention as it is currently circulating in the community and people who have not had two doses of its vaccine may be at risk.”
“If you are not previously vaccinated, we strongly recommend you to do so. Children should be given the first dose of vaccine at 12 months of age. The second dose can be given 4 weeks later, but if the second dose has been missed, it can be given now. If you are born after 1966, the two doses of vaccine are mandatory.”
“If you know, or suspect, you or your child hasn’t been fully immunised, NSW Health offers free MMR (Measles Mumps and Rubella) vaccine through GPs for people up to 47 years of age.”