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Measles case reported in Melbourne, likely acquired overseas

Victoria health officials reported today that there has been one confirmed case of measles in Melbourne with the infection likely to have been acquired overseas.

Image/MDH

The case was infectious while on Emirates flight EK404 which departed Dubai Wednesday 10 January 2018 at 9.20am and stopped in Singapore before arriving at Tullamarine on Thursday 11 January 2018 at 9am.

The case spent approximately three hours at Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport on 11 January 2018 (approximately between 9am and midday), particularly around the international baggage collection area.

As measles is highly infectious through airborne transmission, other secondary cases may occur in susceptible people. Measles has an incubation period of between seven and 18 days (average 14 days from exposure to rash) so should be considered in any susceptible person who presents with a compatible illness, with an onset date between 17 January 2018 and 28 January 2018.

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:

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: seven to 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.

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