28 Mar Measles Alert in Brisbane
Measles is an acute, highly infectious illness caused by the measles virus. Measles can cause serious complications such as pneumonia (lung infection) and encephalitis (inflammation of the brain). It may also cause middle ear infection. Metro South Public Health Unit (MSPHU) has confirmed a case of measles in a person in the Brisbane area. Brisbane commuters who travel on the Ferny Grove train line are warned to be on the lookout for measles symptoms after a man diagnosed with the disease used the train network while unknowingly infectious.
How to identify it?
Signs and Symptoms: Measles begins with symptoms such as fever, tiredness, cough, runny nose and/or red inflamed eyes. These symptoms usually become more severe over three days. The cough is often worse at night and the affected person may wish to avoid light because of sore eyes.
At this stage of the illness, there may be small white spots on a red base in the mouth on the inside of the cheek (Koplik’s spots). This is then followed by a blotchy, dark red rash usually beginning at the hairline. Over the next 24 to 48 hours, the rash spreads over the entire body, during which time the person generally feels very unwell. Typically with measles, the fever is present and the person feels most unwell during the first couple of days after the rash appears. The rash usually disappears after six days.
People with confirmed measles should be excluded from work, school or childcare centres for at least four days after the appearance of the rash. People who have not been vaccinated against measles and those who have any condition that compromises their immune system and have been in contact with a person with measles should be excluded from school and childcare for 14 days from the day the rash appeared in the person diagnosed with measles.
If unvaccinated contacts receive the measles mumps rubella (MMR) vaccine within 72 hours of their first contact with the original person with measles, they may return to childcare, school or work.
Measles virus is very contagious. The virus is spread from an infectious person during coughing and sneezing or through direct contact with secretions from the nose or mouth. A person may be infectious from about five days before the onset of the rash until about four days after the rash appears. The time from contact with the virus until onset of symptoms is about 10 days but may be from 7 to 18 days.
If you think you may have measles you should call your GP or hospital to ensure processes are in place to prevent the further spread of the disease.
Further advice is available by contacting your GP or by calling 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84).
Queensland Health immunisation, Immunise Australia (call 1800 671 811)
- Queensland Health, Measles health alert https://www.health.qld.gov.au/news-alerts/health-alerts/measles
- Metro South Health https://metrosouth.health.qld.gov.au/news/confirmed-measles-case-march-2018
- Queensland Government. Measles fact sheet http://conditions.health.qld.gov.au/HealthCondition/condition/14/217/91/measles