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Public Health Alert: Measles case in Canberra

February 20, 2023 6:42 am in by

Residents in the South East are being advised to be aware of measles exposure sites and monitor for symptoms following a confirmed case of measles in the ACT.

An individual likely acquired the infection on a recent trip to Indonesia, prompting a reminder that the best way to protect yourself and your family against measles is vaccination, particularly for those travelling overseas.

The case, being managed by ACT Health, attended the following public venues in the ACT while infectious on Wednesday 15 February 2023:
• Flight QF1433 from Sydney to Canberra.
• Canberra Airport from 11am to 11.30am.
• Canberra Centre during these approximate times:
 David Jones from 12.30pm to 1.00pm
 Bed Bath and Table between 12.30pm to 1.30pm
 Myer from 1pm to 1.45pm.
• Madeleine’s Café on Level 2 of the Marian Building at the Calvary Public Hospital Bruce, from 3pm to 3.30pm.

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People who attended these sites at the times listed are at risk of exposure to measles and should monitor for symptoms of measles between 22 February and 5 March 2023.

Contacts of the case from Flight QF1433 from Sydney to Canberra will be identified by ACT Health and will receive an email or an SMS.

Southern NSW Local Health District is reminding locals to stay up to date with Measles vaccinations, which can be obtained from your GP or NSW pharmacist.

People are not immune if they:
• have not previously received two doses of measles-containing vaccine (with both doses given at ≥ 12 months of age and at least four weeks apart) or had a measles infection and
• are aged 16 years or older and born after 1965, and
• are not pregnant or immunocompromised.

Alison Nikitas, Acting Director of Public Health for Southern NSW Local Health District, said anyone who was at any of these places at these times should monitor for symptoms of measles.

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“People should seek medical advice if symptoms of measles develop before or on Sunday 5 March 2023,” Ms Nikitas said.

Symptoms include fever, tiredness, runny nose, sore eyes, cough and rash.

The virus is spread from an infectious person during coughing or sneezing or through direct contact with secretions from the nose or mouth.

Ms Nikitas advised it is important people with symptoms contact their healthcare provider before they arrive so that appropriate infection control precautions can be put in place by the healthcare provider. They should wear a mask when they leave their home.

“Measles is a serious disease and is highly contagious among people who are not fully immunised,” said Ms Nikitas.

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“Every case of measles in our community is a reminder that vaccination is the best way to protect yourself and your family against measles.”

“Two doses of Measles Mumps Rubella vaccine (MMR) are required for immunity against measles and are given to children in Australia at 12 and 18 months of age. However, the vaccine can be given at any age after nine months.”

“With many more people travelling following the end of pandemic border restrictions, we are encouraging people to check their immunisation status and get up to date if needed before travelling.”

For more information on measles, view the NSW Health measles factsheet.

Images: NSW Health

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