NewsDesk @bactiman63

Following two recent measles cases reported in travellers who have returned from Bali, New South Wales (NSW Health) officials urge the public planning to travel overseas to ensure they are fully protected against measles before they go.


While rare in Australia, measles remains a common illness in many parts of the world, including locations popular with Australians such as Indonesia, India, the Philippines, Pakistan, and Thailand.

The Middle East, Africa, parts of Europe and the UK, are also considered higher risk for measles due to ongoing circulation of the virus, or current outbreaks.

Dr Christine Selvey, Director Communicable Diseases Branch NSW Health said measles is highly infectious.

“Anyone who is not immune is at risk of developing the disease if they are exposed,” Dr Selvey said.

“Measles can be very severe and people with measles often require hospitalisation, however it is almost completely preventable through vaccination.”

Anyone arriving from overseas, who develops symptoms of measles, are advised to contact their GP urgently to arrange measles testing, particularly those arriving from known areas of high risk for measles such as South-East and Southern Asia or Africa.

How contagious is measles? Answer: Very

“Travellers who develop symptoms, should call ahead to their GP or Emergency Department to ensure they don’t wait in the waiting room with other patients,” Dr Selvey said.

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.

Two doses of measles vaccine provide long term protection to 99% of people vaccinated.

The measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine is safe and is included on the National Immunisation Program for children at 12 and 18 months of age.

Anyone in NSW born during or after 1966 who does not have evidence of having received two doses in the past can access free measles vaccine from their GP (all ages) or pharmacies (people over 12 years of age).

People born prior to 1966 are likely to have had measles infection and are generally considered immune. People who are unsure of whether they have had two doses should get a vaccine, as additional doses are safe.

People travelling with young children should discuss travel plans with their GP as the measles vaccine schedule can be started from 6 months of age for children travelling to areas which are a risk for measles.

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