Victoria health reported today that there are two confirmed case of measles who were infectious while at a number of places across Melbourne between 05 and 14 January 2017, prompting the issuance of a measles alert for medical professionals. The illnesses were acquired overseas.

According to the alert, the two individuals spent significant time in the following places while infectious:

  • January 04 2017 – Air Asia D7214 Kuala Lumpur to Melbourne (Tullamarine)
  • January 05 2017 – Melbourne Tullamarine Airport
  • January 08 2017 – Fountain Gate Shopping Centre, Fountain Gate Village Cinema
  • January 12-14 2017 – Angliss Hospital.
Image/Jim Goodson, M.P.H.
Image/Jim Goodson, M.P.H.

Anyone who presents with signs and symptoms compatible with measles should be tested and notified to the Department. There should be an especially high index of suspicion if they have attended any of the areas stated above and are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated for measles.

Medical professionals are advised to notify the Communicable Disease Prevention and Control Section at the Department of Health and Human Services on 1300 651 160 of suspected cases immediately. Blood for measles serology should be drawn in all suspected cases.

Clinical features of measles include prodromal fever, a severe cough, conjunctivitis and coryza. Individuals, especially children, are typically unwell.

The most important clinical predictors are the following features:

  • generalized, maculopapular rash, usually lasting three or more days, AND
  • fever (at least 38°C, if measured) present at the time of rash onset, AND
  • cough, coryza or conjunctivitis.

Measles is transmitted by airborne droplets and direct contact with discharges from respiratory mucous membranes of infected persons and less commonly, by articles freshly soiled with nose and throat secretions.

Measles is highly infectious and can persist in the environment for up to two hours.

The incubation period is variable and averages 10 days (range: 7 -18 days) from exposure to the onset of fever, with an average of 14 days from exposure to the onset of rash. The infectious period of patients with measles is roughly five days before, to four days after, the appearance of the rash.