Measles alert for western Sydney

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NSW Health is advising people to be alert for signs and symptoms of measles after being notified of a confirmed case of measles in western Sydney. 

The case is an infant, who was too young to be vaccinated, and recently returned from south Asia where there have been ongoing outbreaks of measles in several countries.

People who may have been exposed to the virus in the following locations should monitor for symptoms: 

Friday, 23 February 2024 

  • Blacktown Hospital Emergency Department from 9:30am – 3:00pm.

Western Sydney Local Health District Director of Public Health Dr Catherine Bateman said while these locations pose no ongoing risk, if you, or someone you know, visited the above locations at those times it is important to be on the lookout for symptoms. 

“Symptoms of measles include fever, runny nose, sore eyes and a cough, usually followed three or four days later by a red, blotchy rash that spreads from the head to the rest of the body,” Dr Bateman said. 

Measles is a vaccine preventable disease that is spread through the air when someone who is infectious coughs or sneezes. 

“Symptoms may appear between 7 and 18 days after an exposure, so it’s important for people to stay vigilant if they’ve been exposed, and if they develop symptoms, to please call ahead to their GP or emergency department to ensure they do not spend time in the waiting room with other patients,” Dr Bateman said.

“This should be a reminder for everyone to check that they are protected against measles, which is very infectious. 

“Anyone born during or after 1966 needs to ensure they have received two doses of measles vaccine, this is particularly important prior to overseas travel, as measles outbreaks are occurring in several regions of the world at the moment.” 

The measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine is safe and effective against measles and is included on the National Immunisation Program (NIP) for children at 12 and 18 months of age. It is also free in NSW for anyone born during or after 1966 who hasn’t already had two doses. 

Children aged 6 to 12 months can have their MMR vaccine schedule adjusted to receive their first dose earlier if they are travelling to areas considered high risk for measles following consultation with their GP. 

People who are unsure of whether they have had two doses should get a vaccine, as additional doses are safe. This is particularly important prior to travel. MMR vaccine is available from GPs (all ages) and pharmacies (people over 5 years of age). 

For more information on measles, view the measles factsheet.  If you, or a loved one, is experiencing measles symptoms, or have questions about measles, please call your GP or Healthdirect on 1800 022 222.