Measles Alert

Measles Alert

05 February 2014

10 cases of measles have been notified in recent weeks - all associated with overseas travel. Eight cases have been linked to travel in the Philippines. There may be other cases in the community with measles now or who will be developing symptoms over the next few weeks.

Key points for GPs:
1. Measles cases have been reported in returning overseas travellers
2. Isolate suspected cases
3. Ring the public health unit whilst the patient is with you; and
arrange for urgent tests
4. Offer vaccine to people planning overseas travel its free

Who is at greatest risk of measles?

Those persons who attended the Hip Hop dance competition or their contacts and are;

  • Infants <12 months (too young to be vaccinated).
  • Children >12 months of age who have not been vaccinated against measles.
  • Adults born since 1965 who have not received two measles-containing vaccines and have noevidence of immunity.
How does measles present?
  • 2-4 days of prodromal illness with fever, cough, coryza, and conjunctivitis.
  • A maculo-papular rash then typically begins on the face and neck and becomes generalised, and thefever continues.
  • Measles cases are infectious from the day before the prodrome illness to 4 days after the onset ofthe rash.
How should GPs manage suspected measles cases?
  • Isolate suspected cases. Consider arranging to see suspected cases in their home with specimencollection or bring them in at the end of the day.
  • Notify your local public health unit immediately - dont wait for test results before calling - they can advise on testing, infection control, and managing contacts.
  • Test for measles. Collect blood for measles serology, a nose and throat specimen on a viral transport swab, and a urine sample (~50mL) for IFA/PCR.
  • Promote measles immunisation
  • Routinely immunise infants at 12 and 18 months with a measles containing vaccine.
  • Children over 18 months who have not had their second dose of measles vaccine can be vaccinated now.
  • Ensure all young adults have had 2 doses of a measles containing vaccine. NSW Health provides free MMR vaccine for all people born since 1965 who do not have 2 documented doses.
  • Opportunistic immunisation is especially important for young adults planning overseas travel.
  • Health care workers are at increased risk. Ensure that you and your staff are also immunised.
Further Information:
  • Contact your local Public Health Unit on 1300 066 055