Three young children, including two young babies, have caught measles this week from an unvaccinated child, according to WA Health’s Virus Watch.
They were exposed to the virus at Rockingham General Hospital’s Emergency Department mid-January after a child of a non-vaccinating family presented with the deadly disease.
According to WA Health’s Virus Watch publication on January 29, two cases of mumps were also detected in adults, with one acquired locally and the other in Indonesia.
Measles is a highly contagious viral infection transmitted via respiratory aerosols that remain a risk to others for up to two hours after the person has left the area. The incubation period is about 10 days (range seven to 18 days) to the onset of prodromal symptoms and about 14 days to the appearance of the rash. The illness is characterised by cough, coryza, conjunctivitis, a descending morbilliform rash, and fever present at the time of rash onset. The infectious period is from five days before the appearance of the rash to four days after the appearance of the rash.
According to a WA State Government report released last year, most of Perth’s metropolitan area fell below the current national average of 91.3% for fully vaccinated 2-year-olds.
Some of the lowest vaccination rates for children under 5 were found to be in Cottesloe, Claremont, Fremantle and Mundaring while regionally, Augusta, Margaret River, Busselton and Manjimup were also behind the state’s average.
That said, the number of pregnant mothers receiving whooping cough vaccinations in WA has risen to 70%, after the introduction of the free booster program established after the death of newborn baby Riley Hughes in 2015.