Measles alert: A school student has been diagnosed with the highly-contagious disease

NSW Health is urging parents to look out for measles symptoms after a primary school student was diagnosed with the highly-contagious disease.

Parents of students at Bonnyrigg Heights Primary School are advised to watch out for symptoms in their children as the infected child attends this school.

Students who haven’t had two doses of measles vaccine should stay away from school until April 2.

Parents urged to watch children for measles symptoms after following school student diagnosis
Parents are being urged to watch their children for measles symptoms. Source: iStock

NSW Health urges parents to watch children for measles symptoms after school student diagnosed

While infectious this primary school child also went to:
  • Russell’s Barber Shop, Wilson Road, Green Valley on March 14 between 11:00am and 12:30pm.
  • Edensor Road Family Medical Centre, 195 Edensor Road, Edensor Park on March 18 between 11:00am and 11:45am.
  • Fairfield Hospital Emergency Department on 18 March between 12:35pm and 1:45pm.

The local Public Health Unit is currently contacting other patients who may have come into contact with this child at the medical centre and hospital.

It can take up to 18 days for symptoms to appear following exposure.

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

A man in his 20s staying at a backpackers has been infected with measles

What’s more, there has been another measles case involving a a backpacker in his 20s who was staying at Central Perk Backpacker’s Hostel in Haymarket in Sydney’s CBD.

This man is believed to have been vaccinated against measles as a child, but the number of doses cannot be verified.
While infectious, the man visited:
  • Coles World Square, 650 George Street several times between March 9 and 18.
  • Other shops near the hostel and World Square between March 9 and 18 .
  • St Vincent’s Hospital Emergency Department, March 18 between 2:45pm-3:30pm.

People who visited those venues at the same time as the man should be alert for symptoms of measles until 5 April.

These two new cases takes the total number of people diagnosed with measles in NSW since December to 25.

NSW Health Director of Communicable Diseases Dr. Vicky Sheppeard said while the places visited by the man and student pose no ongoing risk, people who may be susceptible to measles and were there at same time should contact their local Public Health Unit on 1300 066 055. 

“Preventive injections can be given to highly-susceptible people up to six days after exposure to measles,” she said.

“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.

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

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

Sydney residents have been warned to be on high alert

Source: iStock

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.

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

Source: iStock.

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.

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