'Highly-infectious' measles confirmed on Coast
HEALTH officials have confirmed a Sunshine Coast local infected with measles has returned home from an overseas trip with the dangerous disease.
Public health physician Dr Andrew Langley said the person acquired the measles infection in South East Asia where measles was common, and had travelled by plane (TR 0221) to Brisbane while unknowingly infectious arriving Saturday morning at 9.35am.
"People who are known to have been in close proximity to the case are being contacted and provided with public health advice," Dr Langley said.
"Measles is one of the most infectious of all communicable diseases and is spread by tiny droplets through coughing and sneezing.
"As we have eliminated measles in Australia, new cases in Australia occur in travellers into Australia.
"Further cases can then occur in unvaccinated people here including those too young or sick to be vaccinated."
Dr Langley said measles was common in South East Asia and there had been outbreaks in some parts of Europe (France, Georgia, Greece, Italy, the Russian Federation, Serbia and Ukraine) in the past two years.
"People born before 1966 are usually immune from infections that were common then," Dr Langley said.
Queensland Health advise people born since then should ensure they are adequately immunised with two doses of the Measles Mumps Rubella (MMR) before travelling overseas to at risk countries.
"Measles has been eliminated in North, South and Central America, the Caribbean, United Kingdom, most of Continental Europe, the Maldives and Bhutan," Dr Langley said.
"Symptoms of measles usually start around 10 days after being around an infectious person, but can occur between 7 and 18 days after exposure.
"Anyone born during or since 1966 should receive two measles vaccinations, if they have not already done so and if they have not had a proven case of measles.
"Up to two doses of MMR vaccine are provided free by Queensland Health and available from GPs."
Dr Langley said anyone who develops measles-like symptoms within three weeks of an exposure should stay home and contact their doctor for advice.
"The initial symptoms of measles include fever, lethargy, runny nose, moist cough and sore and red eyes.
"This is usually followed a few days later by a blotchy, red rash.
"The rash often starts on the face then becomes widespread over the body.
"If you seek treatment, it is important to call ahead to advice the medical practice you could have measles.
"This way staff can take precautions to avoid spreading the disease further to others."