URGENT MEASLES ALERT: Two young infants have been diagnosed in Sydney

NSW Health is urging parents to be alert for signs of measles after two babies have been diagnosed with the contagious disease.

The infants were reportedly too young to be vaccinated and are believed to have become infected from the recent outbreaks in Sydney.

An eight month old baby and an 11 month old infant are being treated in Kogarah and Kellyville, both suburbs in Sydney.

Parents urged to watch children for measles symptoms after following school student diagnosis

Two young infants have been diagnosed in Sydney with measles

It’s believed the eight month old caught the infection in the Haymarket area near World Square and the 11 month old infant is likely to have caught the infection in the Eastwood area.

The eight month old infant spent time at the following locations while infectious:

  • Yass Korean BBQ Buffet, 1/39 The Boulevarde, Strathfield on Tuesday 26 March, between 6:30pm and 10:00pm.
  • Time Brasserie (restaurant/café), Shop 11, Level 1 Time Plaza Hurstville 127-137 Forest Rd Hurstville on Wednesday 27 March between 4:00pm and 5:30pm.
  • St George Hospital Emergency Department, 28a Gray St Kogarah on Saturday 30 March between 7:30pm and 11:00pm.

The infant spent time at the following locations while infectious:

  • Eastwood Plaza 152-160 Rowe St Eastwood, including play areas near Woolworths and on the first floor on Saturday 23 and Sunday 24 of March.
  • Castle Mall, 4-16 Terminus Street, Castle Hill, including play area on the Lower Ground floor on Tuesday 26 and Friday 29 March.
  • The North Village 10-12 Hezlett Rd Kellyville on Wednesday 27, Friday 29 and Saturday 30 March.
  • North Village Family Practice, Shop S3 the North Village Kellyville, on Wednesday 27 at 12-1.15pm, Friday 29 5.30-6.30pm and Saturday 30 March 9 to 12pm.  

What should you do if you were at these locations at these times?

People who have spent time at these locations at the same time as these infants should be on alert in case they develop the symptoms of measles until April 18, 2019. It can take up to 18 days for symptoms to appear.

NSW Health Director of Communicable Diseases, Dr Vicky Sheppeard, says that while the above places do not pose an ongoing risk, people who may be susceptible to measles who were at these locations should contact their local public health unit for advice on 1300 066 055. 

“The local public health units are working directly with medical practices and hospitals to follow up other patients present at the same time as the infants, and offer preventive treatment as appropriate,” she says.

“If you develop symptoms, please call ahead to your GP to ensure you do not wait in the waiting room with other patients.

“Herd immunity provides protection to those unable to be vaccinated such as infants and people with weakened immune systems.

“The measles-mumps-rubella vaccine is safe and effective protection against measles. It’s free for anyone born during or after 1966 who hasn’t already had two doses. If you’re unsure whether you’ve had two doses, it’s safe to have another.” 

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

Sydney residents have been warned to be on high alert

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.

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 to speak to your GP as soon as possible.

Measles Vaccine

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

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

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