Health officials are urging Australians to make sure they are vaccinated against measles as cases continue to be diagnosed.
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Measles outbreak update
Queensland Health has issued a new measles health alert after a man visited a shopping centre and a Coles supermarket while infectious, before realising he had the highly contagious disease.
He visited the Priceline Pharmacy at Toombul Shopping Centre on 11 April and Coles Kedron on 13 April, the Queensland Health statement says.
This warning comes in the wake of a similar one from NSW Health issued last week. It explained that a man with measles visited the Bondi Bowling Club, the Bondi Junction Medical and Dental Centre and Coles, Bondi Junction Eastgate on 2 April. Again, he was unaware that he was infected when he was out and bout while infectious.
MEASLES ALERT – EASTERN SUBURBS | SESLHD is urging people to be on alert for symptoms of measles after a man acquired the highly-contagious disease while travelling through South East Asia. For details on his movements: https://t.co/YvWcHCzzTl@SESPublicHealth pic.twitter.com/gAqGQSPIAu
— SESLHD (@SEastSydHealth) April 11, 2019
MORE Vaccines and Immunisations
It’s not really known how many cases of measles there have been in Australia this year, but it’s upwards of 87. In 2018 Australia reported 103 cases for the entire year. In 2017 we had 81 reported cases across the country for the whole year.
It’s generally being brought into the country by unvaccinated travellers who have visited south-east Asia and then spend time in the community before realising they are infected.
NSW Health Director of Communicable Diseases Vicky Sheppeard encouraged people to get vaccinated to protect the community and their own family, and to get a top-up jab if they were not sure of their current immunisation status.
Why is measles so worrying?
Complications from measles can include:
- Ear infections and/or permanent hearing loss.
- Pneumonia – which is the most common cause of death from measles in young children.
- Encephalitis (swelling of the brain) that can lead to convulsions and can leave the child deaf or with intellectual disability.
- One to two in 1,000 children who get measles will die from it
- Pregnant woman who contract measles may give birth prematurely, or have a low-birth-weight baby.
How to protect yourself against measles
NSW Health advises:
- The best protection is immunisation with two doses of vaccine, given at least four weeks apart.
- In Australia, two doses of measles containing vaccine are offered to children under the National Immunisation Program (NIP). These vaccines provide protection against mumps, German measles, and chicken pox as well as measles.
- Those planning travel with children between nine and 18 months of age should discuss their travel plans with their GP, as the schedule can be adjusted for children travelling to areas with a high risk of measles.
- Anyone born during or after 1966 who has never had measles infection should see their doctor to make sure that they have had two doses of measles containing vaccine at least four weeks apart. If not the vaccine is free in NSW.
- It is safe to have the vaccine more than twice, so people who are unsure should be vaccinated.
- People with measles should stay at home until they are no longer infectious (i.e. until four days after the rash starts) to reduce the possibility of spreading it to other people.