Measles case at Bibra Lake school sparks health alert

Stock image.
Stock image.

MORE: Perth measles scare: WA Government flags changes to school vaccination checks

A CASE of measles contracted by a student attending Bibra Lake’s Perth Waldorf School has sparked an alert to doctors and parents.

The Department of Health’s statement, released on Friday, said a substantial number of students exposed at the school had not been vaccinated against measles.

The school’s catchment includes the Perth metro area and includes pre-primary and primary school students.

The secondary student is believed to have become infected while overseas.

Perth Waldorf School administrator Jean-Michel David said the school was working closely with the WA Health Department, and the family and student involved in the confirmed measles case.

“We are acting on the advice of the Health Department with regards to how to best manage the situation, including communicating information with the community,” Mr David said.

Neither Mr David nor the Department would specify the number of unvaccinated children at the school when asked.

Prior to diagnosis, the infected student was also in the Midland area on the afternoon of Tuesday, July 25 and in the early afternoon of Sunday, July 30, and may have exposed people there.

People who develop a fever with other symptoms – including cough, runny nose, sore red eyes and a rash – within two to three weeks of potential exposure to someone with measles, should stay at home and consult their doctor.

Director of Communicable Diseases Paul Armstrong said measles could be especially severe in infants and people with poor immune systems.

“Anyone who thinks they are infected should call ahead and mention their possible contact with measles so they can be isolated when they arrive at the GP surgery or emergency department, to prevent infecting other patients and staff,” Dr Armstrong said.

“A person is considered immune to measles if they have previously received two doses of a measles vaccine or were born before 1966.”

Naturally occurring measles has been eliminated from WA for about 20 years but occasional cases and small outbreaks have been associated with tourists or WA residents who are infected overseas.

  • People are infectious just before the symptoms begin, until four days after the rash appears.
  • The time from exposure to becoming sick is about 10 days. The rash may appear around 14 days after exposure.
  • The first symptoms include fever, tiredness, runny nose, cough and sore red eyes.
  • These symptoms last a few days before a red blotchy rash appears, starting on the face then spreading down the body.
  • The rash will last for four to seven days.
  • Up to a third of people with measles will experience a complication, and 1 in every 1000 people develops swelling of the brain (encephalitis).

MORE: Three more division one Lotto winners for WA 

MORE: Police dog Bucky arrests alleged East Perth burglar 

MORE: Man who ran over woman twice avoids jail term