Following two cases of the highly infectious disease recently being diagnosed in young Sydney adults who had travelled to India, Hunter New England Health is urging local people travelling internationally to ensure their measles vaccination is up to date.
Hunter New England Health Public Health Physician Professor David Durrheim said measles is highly infectious and contagious for people who are not fully immunised.
“Diseases such as measles remain common in many countries and without vaccination you can become infected while traveling, and then spread the disease to other susceptible people.
“Measles is highly infectious and is easily spread through coughing and sneezing. If you are not fully immunised or intend to travel overseas make sure you talk to your GP about measles vaccination,” he said.
Symptoms of measles 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 ear infection to pneumonia or swelling of the brain.
“The time from exposure to the onset of symptoms is typically around 10 days but it can be as long as 18 days,” Prof Durrheim said.
Children should receive two doses of vaccine, one at 12 months and the second at 18 months of age. Anyone born after 1965 should have two doses of vaccine (at least four weeks apart).
NSW Health offers free measles-mumps-rubella vaccine through GPs for people born after 1965.
In 2015, three of the six cases of measles in NSW have been acquired in India. Most recently, one case, reported to NSW Health on April 17, had been in the Pyrmont area while infectious prior to measles being diagnosed. The second case was infectious on QF82 from Singapore to Sydney, arriving on 18 April. Other recent cases have followed exposure in Western Europe, Philippines, Indonesia and other Asian countries.
For more information on measles, visit http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/factsheets/Pages/Measles_Factsheet.aspx