NSW Health is urging people to watch for measles symptoms after two children and a young adult who contracted the disease spent time in the western Sydney suburbs of Auburn and Chester Hill while infectious.
The latest three confirmed cases bring the total of measles infections reported in NSW to 11 for 2017, eight of which were acquired overseas.
It is likely all three people contracted the disease from another recently-reported case – but this has yet to be confirmed.
The current measles cases – two children and a young woman in her twenties – were infectious while visiting the following locations in Sydney between 16-23 March:
- NAS Medical Centre, Auburn on 19 & 22 March
- Cheso Medical Centre, Chester Hill on 20 March
- Rawson Street Medical Centre, Auburn on 21 March
- Auburn Hospital Emergency Department on 23 March
Dr Shopna Bag, Manager of Communicable Diseases at Western Sydney Public Health Unit, said all three people in the latest cases had not been vaccinated against measles.
“Measles is highly contagious and is spread in the air through coughing or sneezing by someone who is unwell with the disease,” Dr Bag said.
“These latest cases reinforce the importance of getting vaccinated to protect against the disease. A highly effective measles vaccine has been freely available for many years and it is vital for everyone, including adults and children, to have two doses of the measles vaccine during their lifetime. For more information contact your local doctor.
“Those people who have not received two doses of measles vaccine are at particular risk of contracting the disease and should be alert to symptoms.”
Symptoms of measles include fever, sore eyes and a cough followed three or four days later by a red, blotchy rash spreading from the head and neck to the rest of the body.
Dr Bag said people with measles symptoms should seek medical advice as soon as possible, stay home from work or school, and limit other activities to avoid exposing other vulnerable people, such as infants, to the infection.
“Please call ahead to your doctor or emergency department so that arrangements can be made to keep you away from others to minimise the risk of spreading the infection,” she said.