Measles alert issued for Perth

Stock image.
Stock image.

A MEASLES alert has been issued after a person who travelled to Perth from Thailand this week was confirmed to have the contagious illness.

The person arrived at Perth International Airport after flying Thai Airways from Bangkok on Sunday.

Between then and Tuesday, the person visited Alexander Heights Shopping Centre, caught the train between Greenwood Station and Elizabeth Quay, and visited Westralia Square and Kingsway City Shopping Centre.

People with measles typically develop symptoms about 10 days after being exposed to the virus, but this can vary from seven to 18 days.

Early symptoms include fever, cough, runny nose and sore eyes, followed by a red blotchy rash three or four days later. The rash usually starts on the face and spreads to the rest of the body.

A person who travelled to Perth from Thailand this week was confirmed to have the contagious illness. Picture: File image

The Health Department issued a measles alert, advising people to remain vigilant to the onset of measles symptoms for the next three weeks if they were at the following places during the stated times:

Sunday, April 14 – International flight – Thai Airways TG677, departing Bangkok 7.20am, arriving Perth International Airport 3.05pm.

– Perth International Airport, Terminal 1.

Monday, April 15 – Alexander Heights Shopping Centre, 12.30pm to 1.30pm.

Tuesday, April 16 – Transperth train Greenwood Station to Elizabeth Quay Station 6.55am to 8am.

– Transperth train Elizabeth Quay Station to Greenwood Station from 10.15am to 11am.

– Westralia Square from 7.50am to 10.30am.

– Train Elizabeth Quay to Greenwood Station from 10.17am to 11.10am.

– Kingsway City Shopping Centre from noon to 1.30pm.

There is no current risk of acquiring measles from visiting these areas as the potential exposure to measles occurred only on the dates and times specified.

“Measles is a serious and highly contagious viral illness spread by tiny droplets released when infected people cough and sneeze,” communicable disease control director Paul Armstrong said.

“Every measles case is treated as a public health emergency because of the risk of local spread – including to those most vulnerable to infection, such as infants too young to be vaccinated, those with compromised immune systems and pregnant women who are not already immune through vaccination or previous infection.

“With high vaccination coverage, naturally occurring measles has been eliminated from WA for around 20 years but occasional cases and small outbreaks still occur – associated with tourists or WA residents who are infected overseas.”

Dr Armstrong said public health staff had been providing information to people who were potentially exposed to the most recent case, but it was not possible to identify and specifically warn people who were in public places.

“Measles virus survives less than two hours in the air or on objects and surfaces and is inactivated rapidly in the presence of sunlight or heat,” he said.

“It is generally considered safe for non-immune individuals to enter a room 30 minutes after a measles case has left the area.”

People with measles typically develop symptoms about 10 days after being exposed to the virus, but this can vary from seven to 18 days. 

Early symptoms include fever, cough, runny nose and sore eyes, followed by a red blotchy rash three or four days later.

The rash usually starts on the face and spreads to the rest of the body.

“Anyone who has had a potential exposure to measles, and who develops a fever with these other symptoms should see a doctor,” Dr Armstrong said.

“It is important to call ahead of travelling to a clinic or emergency department so that they can be isolated from infecting other patients and staff when they arrive.”

Measles is contagious for about four days before and after the development of the rash.

People who are concerned they may have measles and require medical advice after hours can call Healthdirect on 1800 022 222.

To learn more about measles, visit healthywa.wa.gov.au.

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