NSW Health encourages free vaccine uptake after two more measles cases in Sydney

NSW Health is urgingpeople to ensure they are fully protected against measles, following two more locallyacquired cases bringing the NSW total since Christmas to nine.

Both new casesoccurred in adults aged between 20-55 years and both were acquired in Sydney.

Dr ChristineSelvey, NSW Health Acting Director of Communicable Diseases, said these casesshow why it is important for anyone born after 1965 to make sure they have hadtwo measles shots.

“We know manyadults in this age group have only had one dose of measles vaccine. Anyoneunsure of their vaccination history should see their GP for another dose, whichis free of charge.

“Most peoplewith measles in Australia picked up their infection during overseas travel. Howeverthe number of recent cases in and around Sydney means people may have beenexposed locally and could be developing symptoms now or over the coming daysand weeks,” Dr Selvey said.

Symptoms ofmeasles include fever, cough, runny nose and sore red eyes, followed 3 to 4days later by a red spotty rash which starts on the head and spreads to therest of the body.

“Anyoneexperiencing these symptoms should seek medical attention, and should call theirdoctor or emergency department before attending so that spread of measles toothers in the waiting room can be prevented,” Dr Selvey said.

People in thefollowing location during the listed time should be particularly alert forsigns and symptoms of measles until 31 January, as it can take up to 18 days forsymptoms to develop.

Monday 13January:

  • ChargrillCharlie’s, 178 Lyons Rd Drummoyne, between 6:30pm and 8:00pm

The locationposes no ongoing threat.

Unvaccinatedpeople who attended the location on the same day and at the same time as thiscase should contact their local public health unit on 1300 066 055 for advice.

A preventivetreatment (immunoglobulin) can be given to unvaccinated people at higher riskof measles complications up to six days after exposure.

People at highrisk of measles complications include:

  • Childrenfrom 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

Measles is a highlyinfectious, vaccine-preventable disease that is spread through the air whensomeone who is infectious with the disease coughs or sneezes.

“Measles is oneof the most contagious diseases for humans but two doses ofmeasles-mumps-rubella vaccine provide lifelong protection against measles in 99out of 100 vaccinated people,” Dr Selvey said.

“If you’reunsure whether you’ve been vaccinated against measles in the past, it’s safe tohave another dose.”

NSW Healthmakes the measles vaccine available free anyone born during or after 1966 whodoesn’t​​ have two documented doses of measles vaccine.

The NSWGovernment is investing $130 million in the 2019-20 Immunisation Programbudget, including Commonwealth and state vaccines.

For moreinformation visit health.nsw.gov.au/measles

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