Metro North Hospital and Health Service (MNHHS) is asking residents to watch for symptoms of measles infection after the highly infectious illness was confirmed in a student from Taringa who has recently returned from overseas.
Public Health Physician Dr James Smith said the man was infectious but did not yet have a rash when he attended various locations on Brisbane’s north side last week.
“Although this person didn’t get measles in Australia, he would still have been very infectious when he was out in the community between Wednesday and Saturday last week,” Dr Smith said.
The man had been at the following locations while infectious:
- Brisbane Airport – Domestic Terminal on Wednesday 15 July. He was a passenger on Qantas flight QF524 from Sydney.
- University of Queensland, St Lucia between Thursday 16 July and Saturday 18 July
- Indooroopilly Shopping Centre on either 16 or 17 July
People who may have been visiting these same areas during that period should be on high alert for symptoms.
“People who may have come into contact with the patient who are uncertain of their immunity to measles should speak to their GP,” Dr Smith said.
“Measles is a very contagious virus that is spread from person-to-person by tiny droplets created during coughing and sneezing. The droplets can remain suspended in the air,” Dr Smith said.
“Measles can be distressing for those with the infection and can cause serious complications such as pneumonia and encephalitis (inflammation of the brain).
Queensland Health recommends anyone born during or since 1966, who has not had two documented doses of measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine or had proven measles, should visit their family doctor to get vaccinated for measles. The vaccine is free for anyone who requires it.
“We encourage people to check if they need to be vaccinated against measles,” Dr Smith said.
“The initial symptoms of measles include fever, lethargy, runny nose, moist cough and sore and red eyes. This is followed a few days later by a blotchy red rash. The rash often starts on the face then becomes widespread.
“Symptoms usually start around 10 days after infection but sometimes longer. Anyone who develops measles-like symptoms should isolate themselves from school, work and social activities and seek medical advice.
“It’s very important to call the medical practice first to say you could have measles, so that staff can take precautions to avoid spreading the disease to others.”