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HEALTH WARNING: Measles in Melbourne

Residents and visitors to Melbourne and the ACT are urged to be on alert for symptoms of the highly infectious disease.

By Rebel Wylie
Health authorities in Victoria and the ACT are urging people to be on the lookout for the signs and symptoms of measles, as a young man is being treated for the infectious disease in a Melbourne hospital after flying from Brisbane via Canberra, while infectious, last week.
In addition, passengers on a flight from Melbourne to Christchurch on 19 March were exposed to measles, according to New Zealand authorities, with one passenger being confirmed as infectious during the flight.
The disease has an incubation period of between seven to 18 days, meaning symptoms of the highly contagious disease take a while to show up.

Measles in Brisbane, Melbourne and the ACT

Before leaving for Melbourne, the young man currently being treated checked in at Brisbane Backpacker Resort on March 19th, where he stayed until flying out two days later.
After arriving in Melbourne on March 21st, he caught a shuttle bus from Melbourne airport to Nomads All National Hostel on Spencer Street, where he stayed until March 24th.
He also attended a 7-Eleven on Spencer Street on March 22nd and the Chemist Warehouse on Bourke Street on March 23rd.
The ACT has also issued a measles warning because the man was at Canberra Airport for up to an hour on March 21st.
Health officials say that two doses of the measles vaccine will provide lifelong protection against measles infection in 99 per cent of the population. Those uncertain if they've had the second dose are able to safely receive another one.
WATCH: A measles tragedy. Continues after video ...

Who is at risk?

People most vulnerable to a measles infection are infants under 12 months, who are too young to be vaccinated, and young adults who may not have had two doses of the MMR vaccine.
The national immunisation register sees children immunised at 12 months of age with the measles mumps rubella (MMR) vaccine and again at 18 months with measles mumps rubella varicella (MMRV).
Victoria's chief health officer, Brett Sutton, warned the cases were a timely reminder for people to ensure they are vaccinated. "Anyone who is unvaccinated is at highest risk of contracting measles."
People most vulnerable to a measles infection are infants under 12 months, who are too young to be vaccinated, and young adults who may not have had two doses of the MMR vaccine. Image: Getty.

Signs and symptoms of the measles

The most distinctive symptom of the measles is a rash, which often starts on the face and spreads to the rest of the body. Other symptoms of the measles can resemble those of the common cold.
  • Fever
  • General discomfort, illness or lack of wellbeing (malaise)
  • Runny nose
  • Dry cough
  • Sore and red eyes (conjunctivitis)
  • Red and bluish spots inside the mouth (Koplik's spots)
  • Red and blotchy skin rash that appears first on the face and hairline, and then spreads to the body
If you, or someone you know, is showing symptoms, seek medical assistance immediately.