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Measles on the Gold Coast

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The Gold Coast Public Health Unit has been notified of a case of measles in a resident of Tweed Heads who has travelled to parts of the Gold Coast. 

Dr Paul Van Buynder, Public Health Staff Specialist, said that measles was highly infectious among people who were not fully immunised and has warned people in the Tweed Heads–Palm Beach area who are not protected against measles to be alert for symptoms.

In particular, those who were at South Tweed Bowls Club on Sunday 4 December, the Palm Beach After Hours Doctor on Monday 5 or Tuesday 6 December or the Tweed Hospital Emergency Department on Friday 9 December.

The patient also conducted deliveries as part of his work in the Gold Coast area, so others not attending the above sites may also have been exposed.

“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,” Dr Van Buynder said. 

“Complications range from an ear infection and diarrhoea, through to pneumonia and swelling of the brain (encephalitis). Measles is a very severe disease in the very young.” 

“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.”

People born during or after 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 eight to 18 days. People are infectious for 24 hours before symptoms appear and for the four to five days before the onset of the rash and remain infectious until four to five days after appearance of the rash. 

“Anyone who contracts measles should stay away from work, preschool, school and other public places until at least four days after the onset of the rash when they are no longer infectious,” Dr Van Buynder 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. 

For more information on measles, please go to…

If you are concerned you may be at risk of measles, phone the Gold Coast Public Health Unit on 5687 9000. 

Last updated 20 Dec 2016