Health Alerts issued in NSW and VIC on the back of measles outbreak – ECEC warned to be vigilant
Health authorities in New South Wales and Victoria have recently issued health alerts in relation to measles being present in the community, with several cases uncovered in recent weeks.
Early childhood education and care (ECEC) providers are especially warned, with some of their charges being too young to be vaccinated against the disease, and with the advent of both Federal and State based “no jab, no play” legislation.
In the latest case of measles in Victoria, a person who may have been infectious whilst attending numerous public areas around metropolitan Melbourne between Saturday 16 March and Monday 18 March 2019 had acquired the illness in the Northern Territory, where there is a current measles outbreak.
The infectious person visited the below places:
Saturday 16 March – Australian Grand Prix – Jones Stand, Gate 2 entrance and food areas at Gate 1
Sunday 17 March, 12pm – 1pm – Woolworths Braybrook
Australian Grand Prix – Fangio Stand, Gate 2 entrance and food areas at Gate 1
Monday 18 March, 1pm – 2pm – Woolworths Braybrook
Four alerts were issued in New South Wales, with NSW Health urging the public to be alert for measles symptoms after a tourist and primary aged child were diagnosed with the highly contagious illness.
An unvaccinated primary school student brought the number of cases of people diagnosed with measles in NSW since December to 25.
The student, who attends Bonnyrigg Heights Primary School, visited the following locations:
Russell’s Barber Shop, Wilson Road, Green Valley on March 14 between 11:00am and 12:30pm
Edensor Road Family Medical Centre, 195 Edensor Road, Edensor Park on March 18 between 11:00am and 11:45am
Fairfield Hospital Emergency Department on 18 March between 12:35pm and 1:45pm
Measles symptoms can take up to 18 days to present following exposure, with those living in the area reminded to be vigilant, and those who were present at the locations and times above to practice extra caution. Students who have not had two doses of measles vaccine have been excluded from Bonnyrigg Heights Primary school until 2 April.
NSW Health Director of Communicable Diseases Dr Vicky Sheppeard said while the places visited by the man and student pose no ongoing risk, people who may be susceptible to measles and were there at same time should contact their local Public Health Unit on 1300 066 055.
A further alert was issued by NSW Health, directed to airline passengers and shoppers after a further two people were diagnosed in Western Sydney after travelling overseas. One instance involved a teenager who left the Philippines and was infectious whilst in transit, returning to Sydney 17 March.
People who were on the flight have been notified, and those who were present in Sydney Airport terminal 1 between 10 30 AM and 1 15 PM should remain alert for symptoms until 5 April.
While infectious, the teenager also visited:
Pacific Chinese Restaurant at Blacktown on 17 March 2019 between 2:00pm and 3.15pm
Stanhope Medical and Dental Centre on 18 March between 2:45pm and 4.00pm
The other case involves a man in his 30s who developed measles after returning to Sydney from Thailand. His vaccination status is unknown.
While infectious, he attended the My Health Medical Centre at Eastwood Shopping Centre.
People who visited the centre on Monday 18 March between 12pm and 1pm should also be alert for signs and symptoms of measles until 5 April.
The time from exposure to the onset of symptoms for measles is between a week and 18 days. Symptoms 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.
Further advice about measles identification and control within an ECEC context is available here.