Two new measles cases in Western Sydney

measles alert

NSW Health is alerting airline passengers and shoppers after two more people were diagnosed with measles in Western Sydney after travelling overseas.

The two unrelated cases involve travellers who returned from South East Asia, taking the total number of people diagnosed with the highly-infectious disease in NSW since last December to 23. 

One is a teenager who returned from the Philippines and was infectious while on flight CEBU Pacific 5J41, which left Manila at 11:30pm on 16 March and arrived in Sydney at 10:30am on 17 March.

The teenager was reported to have been vaccinated as a child, although the number of doses received cannot be verified.

People who were on the same flight and at Sydney Airport’s T1 International terminal between 10:30am and 1:15pm should be alert for symptoms of measles until April 5.

While infectious, the teenager also visited:

  • Pacific Chinese Restaurant at Blacktown on 17 March 2019 between 2:00pm and 3.15pm
  • Stanhope Medical and Dental Centre on 18 March between 2:45pm and 4.00pm

The second case involves a man in his 30s who developed measles after returning to Sydney from Thailand. His vaccination status is unknown.

While infectious, he attended the My Health Medical Centre at Eastwood Shopping Centre. People who visited the centre on Monday 18 March between 12pm and 1pm should also be alert for signs and symptoms of measles until 5 April, as the time from exposure to symptoms can be up to 18 days.

Public Health Unit staff are working with both medical centres to contact patients who were at the practice at the same time as the teenager and man to arrange preventive treatment as required.

NSW Health Director of Communicable Diseases, Dr Vicky Sheppeard, said while these places do not pose an ongoing risk, people who may be susceptible to measles and were at the same locations at the two infectious people, should contact their local Public Health Unit for advice on 1300 066 055.

Preventive injections can be given to highly-susceptible people up to six days after exposure.

“If you develop symptoms, please call ahead to your GP to ensure you do not wait in the waiting room with other patients,” Dr Sheppeard said.

“The measles-mumps-rubella vaccine is safe and effective protection against measles. It’s free for anyone born during or after 1966 who hasn’t already had two doses. If you’re unsure whether you’ve had two doses, it’s safe to have another.”

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.

Outbreaks of measles in popular tourist destinations, particularly the Philippines, means the risk for measles being imported into Australia remains high.

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 measles visit: health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/measles/Pages/default.aspx