Measles warning following contraction by international traveller

A measles infection.
A measles infection. Contributed

NSW Health is warning the public to be alert to the symptoms of measles after a passenger travelled on an international flight to Sydney while infectious.

The young woman travelled on Virgin Australia Airlines flight VA 70 from Denpasar, Bali to Sydney, arriving at 7.40 am on January 1. The woman also visited the Sutherland Hospital Emergency Department in the late morning of January 4 while infectious and the hospital is contacting people who may have been exposed during this visit.

This case is not linked to the cluster of four cases reported in December last year.

Dr Sean Tobin, Acting Director, Communicable Diseases Branch, NSW Health, said fellow travellers and other people who may have been in contact with this case should be alert to the symptoms of measles in the coming days and weeks.

Measles is very infectious. Symptoms 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. Measles can have serious complications, particularly for young children.

Children or adults born during or since 1966 who do not have documented evidence of receiving two doses of measles vaccine, or evidence of previous measles infection, are likely to be susceptible to measles and should be vaccinated.

"The measles virus is highly contagious and is spread through the air by someone who is unwell with the disease,” Dr Tobin said.

"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.

"Measles is highly contagious and is spread through coughing and sneezing. For young children, the measles vaccine is recommended at 12 months and again at 18 months of age. Two doses of the vaccine are required for lifelong protection,” Dr Tobin said.

Anyone born after 1965 should have two doses of vaccine (at least four weeks apart). NSW Health offers free MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine through GPs for people born after 1965 with no records of having received two doses of MMR vaccine.

Measles outbreaks are happening in many places around the world, and people who travel overseas should ensure that they are fully vaccinated against measles.

Topics:  bali measles

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