Measles case sparks alert for possible contacts

Thursday 8 Decemeber

The Centre for Disease Control (CDC) is asking Territorians to be alert for symptoms of measles, following a confirmed case of the contagious disease in the Darwin area recently.

While still infectious with measles a local woman visited several public places, including the Casuarina and Palmerston shopping centres, on the afternoon of Thursday 1 December, as well as the CMax cinema at Palmerston that evening and other parts of the Palmerston shopping centre on the afternoon of Friday 2 December.

"Measles is a very contagious viral illness that is easily spread between people through coughing and sneezing," CDC Acting Director, Dr Steven Skov, said.

"The symptoms of measles are fever, cough, runny nose and sore eyes, which usually occur ten to 14 days after exposure to a case, followed by a red blotchy rash three to four days later. Infected people can potentially pass it on to others until four days after the rash appears."

Dr Skov urged anyone who becomes ill with symptoms like these to seek advice from their GP or health care provider.

"If they do, it is very important that they ring the clinic first to say that they could have measles and ask to be seated in a separate waiting room to avoid spreading the disease to others," he added.

"Measles is an acute viral disease that can have serious complications which include ear infections, diarrhoea and pneumonia, and the person may require hospitalisation."
Dr Skov said people born during or after 1960 who have not had two doses of vaccine are more at risk and should be vaccinated with the MMR (Measles Mumps and Rubella) vaccine.

"Many people in their 20s and 30s will not be immune, so it's particularly important they check their status and get a shot from their local doctor if not sure. Parents should ensure that their children are vaccinated on time.

"Immunisation is the best protection against measles. Children should be vaccinated with MMR at 12 months and again when they turn four years old," Dr Skov said

For further information please contact your health care provider or the Centre for Disease Control.
Darwin   89228044
Alice Springs  89519505
Katherine  89739049
Nhulunbuy  89870359
Tennant Creek 89624259

After hours - contact the Royal Darwin Hospital switchboard on 8922 8888 and ask for the on-call Centre for Disease Control Medical Officer. 

Media Contact: Bridget Wild 89 992 818 or 0401 116 203