HEALTH WARNING: Two children with measles have flown into Sydney from Sri Lanka

Health authorities are urging residents to ensure they are fully protected against measles, as it’s being reported that two children have been diagnosed with the highly contagious viral illness in Sydney after returning from a trip to Sri Lanka.

According to the NSW Health alert, the children, who were reportedly unvaccinated, were on Singapore Airlines flight SQ221 from Singapore, which arrived in Sydney at 7.40am on Friday, January 11.

This now brings the number of Sydney measles cases up to eight in the past few weeks.

measles rash

Measles outbreak to start the New Year for NSW and ACT

NSW Health has warned residents and visitors to the state to be on alert for the signs and symptoms of measles after there had been three cases reported prior to this one in NSW and ACT.

A child was presented to Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney on Wednesday 2nd January after becoming infected and showing symptoms of the highly infectious disease. Staff are still confirming full details of this latest case.

Earlier that day ACT Health had reported that an ACT resident who had been visiting Sydney’s Northern Suburbs had also been diagnosed with the disease after coming into contact with a recently returned overseas traveller.

The infected ACT resident had also visited areas on NSW’s Central Coast during the Christmas and New Year period, including:

  • Thornleigh McDonald’s
  • Jasmine Cafe at Umina Beach
  • Deepwater Plaza in Woy Woy
  • Umina Beach Shopping Centre

Previous to this case NSW Health had been alerted to a man who had recently returned from Thailand and was diagnosed with the disease on 29th December.

They noted the man had visited multiple locations in Sydney City and Eastern Suburbs, including:

  • Governor Phillip Tower in Sydney CBD
  • Totti’s in Bondi
  • The Workout Club in Darlinghurst
  • Australian Golf Club in Roseberry
  • Holy Duck in Chippendale
  • David Jones on Elizabeth Street in Sydney CBD
  • Kid Stuff on Pitt Street in Sydney CBD
  • St Vincent’s Emergency Department in Darlinghurst

See the times and dates both patients visited the listed locations on the NSW Health website.

If you believe you may have been exposed or have noticed any signs or symptoms NSW Health advises to seek medical attention immediately but to contact the medical facility beforehand to let them know that you may have been exposed to this highly infectious disease.

Measles: What is it, what are the symptoms and what to do.

Measles is a highly infectious viral illness that can begin with a cough, fever, sore red eyes and runny nose which will then develop into a red spotty rash on the face and neck after three to four days. These symptoms often appear within 10 days of exposure but can sometimes take up to 18 days to appear.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) measles cases have risen in the last year.

Measles Vaccine
Source: iStock.

Symptoms to look out for:

  • A runny nose
  • Red eyes
  • A cough
  • Fever and a rash

Measles has an incubation period of between 7 and 18 days.

What to do if you suspect you or your child has measles

  • Seek medical advice immediately
  • Stay home from work or school
  • Limit other activities to avoid exposing others
  • Call ahead before visiting the doctor or emergency department so that arrangements can be made to minimise the risk of spreading the infection

If you are worried or need support, we advise you speak to your GP as soon as possible.

Who is at risk?

NSW Health states that most people born before 1966 are immune to the virus. However, people at risk of contracting measles include:

  • People born after 1966, and have not had two doses of the measles vacation from the age of 12 months
  • Babies before the age of one who have not yet been vaccinated
  • People with a weakened immune system (for example someone undergoing chemotherapy)
  • People who are not immune and travel to countries where measles is prominent

Also, do not hesitate to seek medical assistance if you believe someone in your family has contracted measles.

For more information on the facts about measles, as well as the signs and symptoms, read NSW Health’s guide here.

Healthy Kids and The Healthy Mummy

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written by:

Jodie Humphries

Jodie is a beach-loving dog mum from the Mid North Coast of NSW now based in the Northern Beaches. She loves nothing more than to empower women to live a happier healthier lifestyle.