Measles alert for western Sydney
NSW Health is urging people to be alert for signs and symptoms of measles after a western Sydney infant diagnosed with the infection spent time in locations in Parramatta and Westmead on Monday 27 March while infectious.
The infant, who is too young to be vaccinated against measles, acquired the infection while in India before returning to Sydney.
People may have been exposed to the case in the following locations:
• The Children’s Hospital at Westmead emergency department waiting room between 12pm and 9:30pm on Monday 27 March.
• Argyle Street Medical Centre at Parramatta between 9:15am and 10:00am on Monday 27 March.
• Westfield Parramatta between 9:00am and 10:00am on Monday 27 March.
Dr Christine Selvey, Director of Communicable Diseases, NSW Health, said these locations do not pose any ongoing risk but urged people who may be susceptible to measles to get vaccinated.
Anyone born in or after 1966 who has not received two doses of measles vaccine should get a measles vaccine by Thursday 30 March to prevent the infection.
Additionally, people who were present at these locations at these times need to be alert for the symptoms of measles until 14 April 2023.
“Measles is a highly contagious infection, and the most vulnerable are infants under 12 months, who are too young to be vaccinated against it, other members of the community who are not fully vaccinated and people with a weakened immune system,” Dr Selvey said.
Measles is easily spread in the air through coughing or sneezing by someone who is unwell with the disease. Symptoms of measles include fever, sore eyes, runny nose 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.
It can take up to 18 days for symptoms to appear after an exposure, so it is really important to stay vigilant if you’ve been in the above locations and if you develop symptoms, please call ahead to your GP to ensure you do not spend time in the waiting room with other patients,” Dr Selvey said.
The measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) 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.
People who are unsure of whether they have had two doses should get a vaccine, as additional doses are safe. MMR vaccine is available from GPs and pharmacies.
“This incident highlights the importance of ensuring that all people able to be vaccinated have received two doses of measles vaccine, particularly prior to overseas travel, as measles outbreaks are occurring in several regions of the world at the moment,” Dr Selvey said.
Babies aged from 6 months to under 12 months can have an MMR vaccination early if travelling overseas.
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