Second measles alert issued for Busselton

Busselton Dunsborough Times
Measles Mumps Rubella Vaccine Vials.
Camera IconMeasles Mumps Rubella Vaccine Vials. Credit: AndreyPopov/Getty Images/iStockphoto

People who have visited or live in the Busselton area are being asked to be alert to the risk of measles following confirmation of an additional case in the region.

It is the second time this month the WA Country Health Service has issued a measles warning for Busselton.

Individuals should remain vigilant for the onset of measles symptoms throughout the next 18 days if they visited Vasse Coles and surrounds in the afternoon or evenings of July 21, 22, 23 and 24 or Vasse McDonald’s in the evening of July 24.

Children and adults who have been inadvertently exposed are at risk of developing measles if they are not already immune.

WA Country Health Services Dr Tania Wallace said measles was a serious and highly contagious viral illness that spread when infected people cough and sneeze.

“Being in the same room around the same time as someone with measles can result in infection in people who are not immune,” she said.

“People with measles typically develop symptoms approximately 10 to 18 days after exposure.

“Early symptoms include fever, cough, runny nose and sore eyes, followed by a red blotchy rash three or four days later.

“The rash usually starts on the face and spreads to the rest of the body,” she added.

Dr Wallace said complications following measles can be serious and include ear infections and pneumonia in about 10 per cent of cases.

“Around one in every five people will require hospital admission and about one person in every 1,000 will develop encephalitis - inflammation of the brain,” she added.

Dr Wallace said the WA Country Health Service was urging parents to make sure their children receive their measles vaccinations on schedule with the vaccine is currently administered to children at 12 and 18 months of age.

People born during or after 1966 are also requested to check that they have had two documented doses of a measles vaccine at some stage in their life, especially before travelling overseas.

If they are not sure if they have had two doses of measles vaccine, they should see their doctor for a vaccination before going abroad.

There is also a newly funded adult measles immunisation campaign offering two doses of vaccine for all people born from 1966 who are not immunised.

Dr Wallace said every measles case was treated as a public health emergency because of the risk of local spread – including to those most vulnerable to infection, such as infants too young to be vaccinated, pregnant women and those with compromised immune systems.

“With high vaccination coverage, naturally occurring measles has been eliminated from WA for around 20 years, but occasional cases and small outbreaks occur, sparked by residents or visitors who were infected overseas,” she said.

People who are concerned they may have measles and require medical advice after hours can contact Healthdirect on 1800 022 222.

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