SA Health has been notified of a case of measles in a Western Australian resident who has been travelling through regional South Australia whilst infectious.
Professor Paddy Phillips, SA Health’s Chief Medical Officer, said the 31 year old man acquired the infection in the Northern Territory and is now recovering.
“Measles is highly contagious among people who are not fully immunised, and is spread through coughing and sneezing,” Professor Phillips said.
“This patient was travelling through regional South Australia while he was infectious so it is important that people in these areas keep an eye out for symptoms over the next few days.
“The illness begins with fever, cough, runny nose, and sore eyes, followed by a blotchy rash which begins on the head and then spreads down the body. Complications of measles can be severe, including swelling of the brain.
“Anyone who isn’t fully immunised, and particularly anyone who was in the locations at the times listed below, should visit their doctor if they develop any of the symptoms.
“It is very important that people phone their doctor before they visit to mention why they are attending, so precautions can be taken to avoid spreading disease to others.”
The locations visited by the patient include:
• Marla: Tuesday 28 January in the afternoon
• Coober Pedy: Stuart Range Outback Resort Coober Pedy overnight on Tuesday 28 January and Shell Service Station Wednesday 29 January 5:30am until 8am
• Whyalla: Shell Coles Express Wednesday 29 January 12pm until 2:30pm
• Port Lincoln township including Port Lincoln Hospital and Health Service Wednesday 29 January in the afternoon and evening
• Port Lincoln township including Port Lincoln Hospital and Health Service, IMVS and Jones and Partners Radiology, Thursday 30 January in the morning
• Streaky Bay Thursday 30 January in the afternoon
There have been a number of measles outbreaks recently both interstate and overseas.
Nineteen cases of measles have been reported in South Australia in the past four months, six of them occurring in 2014. A total of 16 cases were recorded in 2013.
“Measles is a vaccine-preventable illness so make sure you are not at risk – ensure you are immune by having two measles vaccinations,” Professor Phillips said.
“In particular, people born after or during 1966 should check their vaccination records, and request measles vaccine if there is no record of them receiving two doses.”
Children receive their first measles vaccination at 12 months and a second one at either 18 months or four years old.
If you were born after or during 1966 and haven’t received two measles vaccines, SA Health offers free measles vaccine (MMR) through GPs and local councils.
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