NSW Health warns measles case detected in Sydney

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The dangerous measles virus has been detected in a Jetstar passenger flying into Sydney from the Gold Coast, with health authorities urging anyone who might have been exposed to the traveller to be on alert for symptoms.

Measles is a highly contagious virus and NSW Health said on Wednesday the traveller had recently returned to Australia from Southeast Asia, where a measles outbreak has struck several countries.

The adult boarded Jetstar flight JQ427 into Sydney from the Gold Coast on February 7, arriving at 10.15pm.

The passenger went through Sydney Domestic Terminal 2 between 10.15pm and 11pm.

On February 10, the passenger took bus route 288 from Sussex St at Erskine St in the city to Lane Cove Interchange Stand C from 9.30am to 10am.

The person then visited the Thai Chiva Therapeutic Massage at Lane Cove between 10am and 7pm and the Satang Thai Take Away Restaurant at Haymarket between 9pm and 11pm.

“Symptoms of measles include fever, runny nose, sore eyes and a cough, usually followed three or four days later by a red, blotchy rash that spreads from the head to the rest of the body,” South Eastern Sydney local health district director of public health Dr Vicky Sheppeard said on Wednesday.

“If you, or someone you know, visited the above locations at those times it is important to be on the lookout for symptoms.”

The locations do not pose an ongoing threat, she added.

This case is not linked to another case reported in northern NSW on February 11.

Measles is a contagious viral illness that causes rash and fever.

It can also cause serious health complications, including pneumonia and encephalitis.

The vaccine preventable disease is spread through the air when someone who is infectious coughs or sneezes.

“Symptoms of measles include fever, runny nose, sore eyes and a cough, usually followed three or four days later by a red, blotchy rash that spreads from the head to the rest of the body,“ Dr Sheppeard said.

“Symptoms may appear between seven and 18 days after an exposure, so it’s important for people to stay vigilant if they’ve been exposed and if they develop symptoms, to please call ahead to their GP or emergency department to ensure they do not spend time in the waiting room with other patients.”

NSW Health is urging Sydneysiders to check to make sure they are protected against measles.

“Anyone born during or after 1966 needs to ensure they have received two doses of measles vaccine, this is particularly important prior to overseas travel, as measles outbreaks are occurring in several regions of the world at the moment.”

There are also further exposure sites in Queensland.

The measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine is safe and effective against measles and is included on the National Immunisation Program for children at 12 and 18 months of age. It is also free in NSW for anyone born during or after 1966 who hasn’t already had two doses.

The vaccine is available from GPs for all ages and at pharmacies for people aged five years and over.

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