WSLHD urges measles vaccination checks after new case

measles alert
Measles alert, Image: iStock

WSLHD is urging people in their 20s, 30s and 40s to check their measles vaccination status after confirmation of a further case connected to the western Sydney outbreak.

The latest person to contract measles brings the total number of cases associated with the outbreak to 17 and the total number of NSW measles cases, with onset of symptoms this year, to 23.

NSW Health’s Communicable Diseases director Dr Vicky Sheppeard said people born between 1966 and 1994 may have only had one dose of the measles vaccine rather than the required two, due to changing vaccination schedules during this period.

“Investigations indicate the latest person to contract measles only had one dose of the vaccine and this person falls into the 20s, 30s and 40s age bracket,” she said.

“We are urging all people in this age bracket to check their vaccination history and have the measles vaccine if they do not have a record of having received two doses previously. Don’t assume you are covered unless you have written records of two doses. It is perfectly safe to have the measles vaccine again, if you are not sure whether you’ve had two doses of the vaccination in the past. The vaccine is free to people in this age group through GPs.”

The latest case visited the following known locations in Sydney while infectious:

  • Powerhouse museum – 14 April, early afternoon
  • Rashays, Darling Harbour – 14 April, later in the afternoon
  • Liverpool Westfield, including an optometry practice on 13, 15 and 17 April
  • Blacktown Hospital – 15 April, approximately 7.30pm – 8.00pm
  • Casula Central Medical Practice and Chemist Warehouse, Casula – 18 April, approximately 10.00am.

Symptoms of measles include fever, sore red 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.

Dr Sheppeard said it was important for people to watch for symptoms, arrange to see the GP if concerned, and limit exposure to others until the GP has made a diagnosis.

“Our public health units are contacting people known to have been in those locations to offer preventive injections, as appropriate. However it will not be possible to identify and contact all people who may have been exposed to the disease.

“Measles is highly contagious and is spread in the air through coughing or sneezing by someone who is unwell with the disease.”

For more information on the measles outbreak, visit: http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/alerts/Pages/april-measles.aspx.

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