New South Wales Issues Measles Alert

Australia reports another measles outbreak near Sydney
sydney opera house at dusk

New South Wales (NSW) Health department is urging people to ensure they are fully protected against measles, following another locally-acquired measles case being reported.

Announced on January 10, 2020, by Dr. Christine Selvey, NSW Health Acting Director of Communicable Diseases, said in a press release, “it is important for anyone born after 1965 to make sure they have received 2-doses of measles vaccine, as this provides the best protection against measles.” 

“People who are unsure of their vaccination history can safely receive another vaccine dose.”

“People usually catch measles during overseas travel, however, the number of recent cases with exposures in and around Sydney means many people may have been exposed locally and could be developing symptoms now or over the coming days and weeks.”

NSW Health makes the measles vaccine available free to anyone born during or after 1966 who doesn’t​​ have 2 documented doses of measles vaccine.

“Symptoms of measles include fever, cough, runny nose and sore red eyes, followed 3 to 4 days later by a red spotty rash which starts on the head and spreads to the rest of the body. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should seek medical attention, but call ahead to your doctor or emergency department so that your exposure to others can be limited on arrival,” concluded Dr. Selvey.

The NSW Government said they are investing $130 million in the 2019-20 Immunisation Program budget, including Commonwealth and state vaccines.

New South Wales is a state with about 8 million residents located on the east coast of Australia. It borders Queensland to the north, Victoria to the south, and South Australia to the west. Its coast borders the Coral and Tasman Seas to the east. 

Just under two-thirds of the NSW’s population, 5.1 million, live in the Greater Sydney area.

To alert international travelers for their health risks, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in a Level 1 Travel Alert published on January 3, 2020, ‘Measles outbreaks are occurring around the world. Before you travel internationally, regardless of where you are going, make sure you are protected fully against measles.’

The CDC says ‘Before you travel internationally, regardless of where you are going, make sure you are protected fully against measles. If you are not sure, see your healthcare provider at least one month before your scheduled departure.’

>Check your measles immunity<

The CDC suggests the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) and other travel-related vaccinations prior to visiting Australia in 2020.

Furthermore, on January 2, 2020, the CDC updated numerous Level 1 Travel Alerts for the countries in the Oceania region reporting increased numbers of Dengue disease cases.

Previously, on January 8, 2020, the US Department of State issued an ‘Exercise Increased Caution’ Travel Advisory when visiting Australia.

The State Department says this Travel Advisory was issued ‘due to natural disasters, bushfires, and some areas have increased health risk for visitors. Australian authorities may issue evacuation orders to certain areas as conditions warrant.’

The US State Department suggests ‘tourists should consider postponing their trip to affected areas until the danger of natural disaster has passed.’

Travel health and vaccine news published by Vax-Before-Travel

 

 

Article by
Dani Reiter