Measles alert: Nine cases of measles in NSW since Christmas

21 January 2020

 

NSW Health is urging people to ensure they have received two doses of measles vaccine following a further two locally acquired cases of the infection. A total of nine cases of measles have been reported in NSW since Christmas 2019.

Both new cases occurred in adults aged between 20-55 years, and both were acquired in Sydney.

These cases highlight the importance for anyone born after 1965 to check their vaccination history, as many adults in this age group have only had one dose of measles vaccine.  Anyone unsure of their vaccination history should see their GP for a second dose, which is free of charge.

Current cases

A 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.

Current cases of measles and details of locations and time periods of concern can be found at the NSW Health website: Measles health alerts – current.

People in the same location at the same time should be alert for signs and symptoms of measles until 31 January as is can take up to 18 days for symptoms to present following exposure to measles.

Post-exposure prophylaxis

Measles vaccine may help prevent measles in unvaccinated people if given within 72 hours of an exposure to a measles case, and another treatment (immunoglobulin) can be given for unvaccinated people at higher risk of measles complications up to six days after exposure. Highly susceptible people should contact the public health unit on 1300 066 055 to discuss preventive treatments after exposure.

People at high risk of measles complications include:

  • Children from birth to 11 months (who are too young for routine measles vaccination)
  • pregnant women who haven’t had a measles vaccination
  • people with a weakened immune system due to illness or treatment

Measles is extremely infectious, and anyone born during or after 1966 needs to ensure that they have received two doses of measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine. MMR vaccine is safe and highly effective, with two doses providing lifelong protection in 99 out of 100 people who are vaccinated. MMR vaccine is provided free in NSW for individuals born during or after 1966.

Further information