NSW Health is urging NSW residents to ensure they are fully protected against measles, following identification of a case from Victoria who visited the border region while unknowingly infectious during the Queen’s Birthday long weekend.
Dr Jeremy McAnulty, Executive Director, Health Protection, NSW Health, said the new case is a Melbourne resident aged in their thirties who acquired their infection while travelling abroad.
The case spent two hours in a busy pub in Albury and visited a service station on Sunday 12 June of the long weekend, when many people from out of town would have been passing through.
Dr McAnulty said people who may have spent time in the Albury region over the recent long weekend may have been exposed, before travelling onto other places in NSW.
The locations do not pose an ongoing risk but those who attended the following venues on Sunday 12 June are asked to watch for measles symptoms now and over the coming days and weeks, as it can take almost three weeks for symptoms to appear:
- Culcairn Ampol service station, Olympic Highway, Culcairn, Sunday 12 June, 12pm to 12.35pm
- Astor Hotel, 641 Young Street, Albury, Sunday 12 June, 12.30pm to 3pm
Unvaccinated people who attended these locations on the same day and at the same times as this case should contact their local public health unit on 1300 066 055 for advice.
Symptoms include fever, cough, runny nose and sore red eyes, followed three to four days later by a red spotty rash which starts on the head and spreads to the rest of the body.
“While this is the first measles case to visit NSW for two years, it shows just how important it is for everyone to make sure they have had two measles shots,” Dr McAnulty said.
“Many adults born during or after 1966 have only had one dose of measles vaccine. Anyone unsure of their vaccination history should see their GP for another dose, which is free of charge.
“Measles is one of the most contagious diseases for humans but two doses of measles-mumps-rubella vaccine provide lifelong protection against measles in 99 out of 100 vaccinated people.
“If you’re unsure whether you’ve been vaccinated against measles in the past, it’s safe to have another dose.”
Measles is a highly infectious, vaccine-preventable disease that is spread through the air when someone who is infectious with the disease coughs or sneezes.
Anyone experiencing symptoms should seek medical attention, and should call their doctor or emergency department before attending so that spread of measles to others in the waiting room can be prevented.
People at high risk of measles complications include:
- children from birth to 11 months (who are too young for routine measles vaccination)
- pregnant women who haven’t had measles vaccination
- people with a weakened immune system due to illness or treatment.
NSW Health makes the measles vaccine available free to anyone born during or after 1966 who doesn’t have two documented doses of measles vaccine.