Mr Paul Corben, Public Health Director, said that measles is highly infectious among people who are not fully immunised.
Anyone in the Tweed Heads-Coolangatta area who is not protected against measles should be alert for symptoms, particularly those who were at South Tweed Bowling Club on Sunday 4th December 2016, the Gold Coast After-hours Doctor, Palm Beach on Monday 5th or Tuesday 6th December or The Tweed Hospital Emergency Department on Friday 9th December.
“Measles is spread through coughing and sneezing. Symptoms can include fever, tiredness, runny nose, cough and sore red eyes which usually last for several days before a red blotchy rash appears. Complications range from an ear infection and diarrhoea, through to pneumonia and swelling of the brain (encephalitis)” Mr Corben said.
“Vaccination with measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine is the only way to prevent infection. Two doses of the MMR vaccine are recommended for children, with the first at 12 months and the second at 18 months of age” Mr Corben said.
People born during or since 1966 who do not have two documented doses of MMR vaccine should contact their local health provider for vaccination advice. People born before 1966 are usually immune because they had measles during childhood. The MMR vaccine is free to people born during or after 1966.
“The time from exposure to the onset of symptoms is typically 8 to 18 days. People are infectious for 24 hours before symptoms appear and for the 4-5 days before the onset of rash and remain infectious until 4-5 days after appearance of the rash. Anyone who contracts measles should stay away from work, preschool, school and other public places until at least 4 days after the onset of the rash when they are no longer infectious” Mr Corben said.
Anyone with symptoms of measles should phone their General Practitioner in advance before arriving for assessment to ensure they can be isolated from other patients” Mr Corben said.