Measles case notified in Canberra 31.01.14


Released 31/01/2014

ACT Chief Health Officer, Dr Paul Kelly today alerted Canberrans to be aware of measles symptoms after a case was notified to ACT Health on Friday 31 January 2014. The case had acquired their infection overseas.

This is the second case of measles to have occurred in the ACT since mid December. The two cases are not linked.

"The Health Protection Service (HPS) is following-up identified contacts in line with national guidelines," Dr Paul Kelly said.

"People who may have been exposed to the ACT case include:

  • Anyone who attended the Rose Cottage Restaurant at Gilmore on Saturday 25 January 2014 after 5.30pm;
  • Anyone who attended the Canberra Church of Christ in Weston on the morning of Sunday 26 January 2014;
  • Anyone who was at Westfield Woden on Monday 27 January2014 between 3pm and 6pm;
  • Anyone who was at Centrelink in Tuggeranong on Tuesday28 January 2014 between 9.30am and 1pm;
  • Anyone who was at the Tuggeranong Hyperdome on Tuesday28 January 2014 between 11am and 3pm; and
  • Anyone who was at Canberra Hospital's Emergency Department on Thursday 30 January between 8pm and 10pm.

"We're advising anyone who attended these venues to be aware for symptoms and to seek medical advice if they develop symptoms. Anyone with symptoms of measles should advise their health provider before they arrive at the medical clinic so that appropriate infection control precautions can be put in place to stop the spread of the infection.

"The symptoms of measles may include fever, tiredness, runny nose, sore eyes and a cough, followed by a rash which appears 2-7 days later. People generally develop symptoms 7-18 days after being exposed to a person with infectious measles, with 10 days being more common.  People are infectious from 5 days before they develop a rash until 4 days after," Dr Paul Kelly said.

"Measles is a serious disease and is highly contagious among people who are not fully immunised.  The virus is spread from an infectious person during coughing and sneezing or through direct contact with secretions from the nose or mouth.

The most effective protection against measles is vaccination. Two doses of Measles Mumps Rubella vaccine (MMR) are recommended and are normally given to children at 12 months and 18 months of age.  However the vaccine can be given at any age," Dr Paul Kelly said.

"This case is a timely reminder that outbreaks of measles continue to occur in other countries. For example, there is currently an ongoing measles outbreak in the Philippines and several cases have been reported across Australia associated with travel to the Philippines.  Therefore it is important that people travelling overseas ensure they are fully vaccinated before they depart," Dr Paul Kelly concluded.

ACT Health has information about measles online at: www.health.act.gov.au/publications-reports/fact-sheets/measles.

- Statement ends -

Section: ACT Health Directorate | Media Releases

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