30 May 2012
Public urged to watch out for measles
NSW Health is warning the community to be on high alert after three cases of the potentially deadly measles virus were confirmed in three infants in Sydney’s west.
NSW Health Director of the Centre for Health Protection, Dr Jeremy McAnulty, said measles is very uncommon due to high vaccination rates but it is important that people are aware that measles is circulating in the community.
“Measles is highly infectious – just being in the same room as someone with measles can result in infection,” Dr McAnulty said.
“Symptoms can include fever, tiredness, runny nose, cough and sore red eyes which usually last for several days before a red, blotchy rash appears. Complications can range from an ear infection and diarrhoea to pneumonia or swelling of the brain.”
Dr Vicky Sheppeard from the Western Sydney Public Health Unit said babies had recently attended the Emergency Department at the Children’s Hospital Westmead (CHW) and were diagnosed with the illness.
“The Western Sydney Public Health Unit is contacting people who may have been exposed to an infectious case of measles” Dr Sheppeard.
“People who may have been exposed could expect symptoms to appear any time before the end of the month.
“The time from exposure to the onset of symptoms is typically around 10 days but can be as long as 21 days.
“Others have contracted measles in recent months after visiting local medical centres in Western Sydney and shopping centres in the Blue Mountains and Penrith.
“Anyone with symptoms should contact their Emergency Department before arriving at the hospital to ensure they are isolated upon arrival.
“People who have not been vaccinated should do so. Even young healthy adults are susceptible to measles.”
NSW Health urges people to make sure they are up-to-date with their MMR (Measles Mumps and Rubella) vaccinations - particularly anyone born after 1966.