THE Department of Health has issued an alert following a confirmed measles case in a person who visited several Perth shopping centres last week.
WA Health Department warned people without measles immunity to remain vigilant for symptoms if they were at the following venues:
- Coventry Village on Tuesday, January 7 between 12.00pm (midday) and 2.00pm
- Greenwood Kingsley Super Deli on Tuesday, January 7 between 4.30pm and 5.30pm
- Barbaro Bros Butchers Greenwood on Tuesday, January 7 between 4.30pm and 5.30pm
- Dianella Plaza on Wednesday, January 8 between 12.15pm and 1.30pm
The Department’s Acting Director of Communicable Disease Control Clare Huppatz said there was no current or ongoing risk of acquiring measles from visiting these venues as potential exposure to measles occurred only on the dates and times specified.
“This latest case was acquired overseas and is a timely reminder for anyone travelling to countries where measles is circulating to ensure they are immunised against measles,” she said.
Measles is a serious and highly contagious viral illness spread when infected people cough and sneeze. Being in the same room in, or soon after, someone with measles can result in infection in people who are not immune.
Early symptoms typically develop approximately 10 to 18 days after exposure and 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.
Complications following measles can be serious and include ear infections and pneumonia in about 10 per cent of cases. Around one in every five people will require hospital admission and about one person in every 1,000 will develop encephalitis – inflammation of the brain.
Dr Huppatz advised Western Australians to check that their measles immunisations were up to date and urged parents to make sure their children received measles vaccinations on schedule – at 12 and 18 months.
“Western Australians born before 1966 are usually immune to measles because they had the illness as children,” she said.
“However, people born from 1966 onwards and aged in their 30s and older may need a Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR) booster vaccination as they are likely to have only received a single dose of vaccine as that was the recommendation at the time. It is an important travel vaccine for those planning to visit countries with measles.
“Two doses of MMR are now known to be required for optimal immunity.”
In WA there is an adult measles immunisation campaign offering two free doses of vaccine for all people born from 1966 onwards who are not immunised. Vaccination can be provided by your GP or your usual immunisation provider.
Dr Huppatz reminded anyone who thinks they may have measles to call ahead to a clinic or Emergency Department so that they can be isolated from infecting other patients and staff when they arrive.
People who are concerned they may have measles and require medical advice after hours can also contact Health direct on 1800 022 222.
To learn more about measles, visit the HealthyWA website.