Renewed measles warnings as more cases diagnosed in eastern states

Posted in Vaccines and Immunisations.

Health officials are urging Australians to make sure they are vaccinated against measles as cases continue to be diagnosed.

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.

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.

measles child

Get vaccinated!

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.

“If you’re not sure if you have had two doses of measles vaccine which provides lifelong protection in 99 out of 100 people, it is safe to get another jab, particularly if you’re heading overseas.”
The measles booster is free for anyone born after 1965. A preventive injections can be given for up to six days after exposure to measles.
Contact your local public health unit for advice on 1300 066 055 if you have questions or concerns.

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.

Measles infographic

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.


Get more babyology straight to your inbox