Two more measles cases in Perth

Stock image.
Stock image.

TWO new cases of measles have been confirmed in Perth over the past two days, bringing the total number of cases in this cluster to 19.

Individuals should remain vigilant for the onset of measles symptoms for 18 days following exposure, if they are not immune to measles and were in the following areas:

Tuesday 1 October: Woolworths Noranda, after 7:30pm to 9pm

Saturday 5 October: Terry White Chemist Belmont City, Abernethy Road, Cloverdale, from 2:30-4pm

The number of cases in WA in the year to date has reached 45. Over the past five years WA has had between eight and 43 cases per year.

Senior Medical Advisor in Communicable Disease Dr Clare Huppatz said that measles was a serious and highly contagious viral illness spread by tiny droplets released when infected people cough and sneeze.

“Every measles case is treated as a public health emergency because of the risk of local spread,” Dr Huppatz said.

“This includes 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 – usually associated with tourists or WA residents who are infected overseas.”

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.

Dr Huppatz said that anyone who has had a potential exposure to measles, and who develops a fever with these other symptoms should see a doctor.

“It is important to call ahead when travelling to a clinic or Emergency Department so that they can be isolated from infecting other patients and staff when they arrive,” she said.