New measles cases prompt another airline passenger alert

NSW Health is again alerting people to look out for measles symptoms in the community.

The fresh alert follows two more cases of measles in returning travellers, bringing the total of overseas acquired cases notified since Christmas to six.

Two unvaccinated children developed measles on their return from Sri Lanka last weekend, and were diagnosed with the infection in Sydney today.

The children were in the following locations while infectious:

  • Qantas flight SQ221 from Singapore, arriving in Sydney at 07:40 on Friday January 11
  • Train from International Airport to Meadowbank via Central, arriving in Meadowbank at 09:30 on Friday January 11
  • Ryde Hospital Emergency Department from 07:40 – 09:30 on Sunday January 13
  • Carlingford Epping Surgery General Practice, 5 Lloyds Avenue, Carlingford from 09:30 – 10:30 Monday January 14
  • Douglass Hanly Moir Pathology at 5 Lloyds Avenue, Carlingford at 10:30 and 27 Rembrandt Street Carlingford at 10:50 Monday January 14

The children are now isolated and are recovering at home. The local public health unit is working with health services to contact other patients present at the same time and is offering any necessary treatment.

People who were on SQ221, at Sydney International Airport, or on the train from the airport to Meadowbank in the morning of January 11 should be alert for measles symptoms until January 29 as symptoms can be experienced up to 18 days after exposure.

“If you develop symptoms please call ahead to your GP so that you do not wait in the waiting room with other patients,” Dr Vicky Sheppeard, Director Communicable Diseases Branch said. 

“The measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine is safe and highly effective protection against measles, and is available for free for those aged 1 to 52 from your GP.  If you are unsure whether you have had two doses, it is quite safe to have another dose.”

Vaccination rates for five year-old children in NSW have increased from 88% in 2010 to over 95% in 2017.

NSW Health once again urges people travelling to south-east Asia where measles is prevalent to ensure they are fully vaccinated before heading overseas.

Outbreaks of measles in popular tourist destinations means the risk for measles being imported into Australia at the moment is high.

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

Symptoms of measles 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.

For more information on measles, visit: http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/factsheets/Pages/Measles_Factsheet.aspx

Media contact: NSW Health Public Affairs 02 9962 9890; email – media@health.nsw.gov.au.