Measles Alert

Territorians are being warned to be alert for measles and get immunised if required, following confirmation of a case of this highly contagious disease in Darwin.

“This case is a local resident who acquired the disease while in Cambodia and on return to Darwin has visited several places while infectious. This means there is likely to be people with symptoms of measles in Darwin from today for the next two to three weeks”, said Dr Vicki Krause Director from the Centre for Disease Control and Environmental Health at Top End Health Services.

While infectious in this past week the case visited Mitchell Street nightclub venues, Woolworths in the city, Nightcliff shops, Supercheap Auto at Homemaker Village and Territory Trophies Precision Engraving in Woolner. The case also visited 2 GP practices and the Royal Darwin Hospital Emergency Department.

The Centre for Disease Control (CDC) is contacting people who may have had contact with this case to provide information and offer preventive t or booster immunisation as appropriate.

“To be immune to measles you need to have had measles previously or have had two doses of the measles-containing vaccine, known as the Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine. The vaccine is given as part of the routine national vaccination schedule at 12 months and at 18 months, but people born between 1966 and 1996 may have only had one dose as a child and are not fully vaccinated and need a second dose. Even if uncertain that you have not had a second dose get one now as it is not harmful to have an extra dose. The vaccine is free for those who do not have 2 documented MMR vaccines,” Dr Krause said.

“In addition, there have been lots of measles cases reported in other Australian states and over a thousand in New Zealand, so the public should ensure they are immune to measles and remain alert for symptoms.”, Dr Krause said.

Measles is a very contagious viral illness that is spread between people through coughing and sneezing.  It can be caught in public places such as shopping centers and waiting rooms. The symptoms of measles are fever, cough, runny nose and sore eyes, which usually occur 7-10 days after exposure to a case, followed a few days later by a red blotchy rash which often starts on the face and then becomes widespread over the body.

It is very important to call the medical practice first if you think you might have measles, so that staff can take precautions to avoid you spreading it to others.”

Up to one third of people infected with measles will experience a complication. Complications are more common in young children and adults and include ear infections, diarrhoea, pneumonia and encephalitis (swelling of the brain) and may require hospitalisation.

Website: Measles info https://nt.gov.au/wellbeing/health-conditions-treatments/viral/measles

Media Contact: Gail Turner - 0476 839 383

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