NSW Health is advising people to be alert for symptoms of measles after a local woman diagnosed with the infection visited a number of locations in Sydney while infectious.
The woman in her 20s had not travelled prior to her illness and has no known links to previously identified measles cases.
Dr Christine Selvey, NSW Health Acting Director of Communicable Diseases, said this is the third recent case of locally acquired measles in Sydney not linked to a known measles case.
“It should be a reminder for everyone to check that they are protected against measles, which is extremely infectious,” Dr Selvey said.
“The measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine is safe and highly effective, with two doses providing lifelong protection in 99 out of 100 people who are vaccinated.
“Anyone born during or after 1966 needs to ensure that they have received two measles shots. If you’re unsure whether you’ve been vaccinated against measles in the
past, it’s safe to have a dose.”
The woman is believed to have been infectious from Wednesday 11 September to Tuesday 24 September, and during this time visited many locations in the Inner West and in Sydney’s CBD, including two medical centres. She also travelled by train from Marrickville into the CBD and back again on a number of days while infectious.
Local public health unit staff are identifying people who may have been in contact with the woman while she was infectious, including at the two medical centres and her workplace, and arranging preventive treatment if required.
“It is likely that other people have been exposed to this case or other unidentified measles cases in the community so everyone needs to be on the lookout for the early signs of measles,” Dr Selvey said.
“Symptoms to watch out for include fever, sore eyes and a cough followed three or four days later by a red, blotchy rash that spreads from the head to the rest of the body.
“It can take up to 18 days for measles symptoms to begin to appear following exposure. Anyone who develops symptoms should arrange to see their GP and call ahead to ensure they don’t wait alongside other patients.”
Measles is a vaccine preventable disease that is spread through the air when someone who is infectious coughs or sneezes.
NSW Health makes the measles vaccine available free for anyone born during or after 1966 who doesn’t have two documented doses of measles vaccine.
The NSW Government is investing $130 million in the 2019-20 Immunisation Program budget, including Commonwealth and state vaccines.