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Measles in Western Australia

30 Dec 2016

A media reportLinkof 21 December 2016 states that the Western Australia Health Department has issued a warning that doctors should be on the alert for measles following 2 cases of the highly infectious disease that were detected this month (December 2016).

The 2 measles cases were identified in non-vaccinated children, it is believed they were exposed to the disease via contact with a returned traveller who contracted the disease overseas (travel history undisclosed). There are concerns that a number of other people may have been exposed to the measles virus in both Perth and rural parts of Western Australia.

A Western Australian communicable disease doctor stated that this serves as a timely reminder for families to ensure their immunisations are up-to-date, particularly during the holiday season when more people make travel plans.

Measles is a highly infectious viral illness; it may be more severe in teenagers and adults, and can sometimes lead to serious complications. Situations where people mix closely with each other provide the ideal scenario for the measles virus to spread.

Advice for Travellers

Young people who missed their MMR vaccines as children are vulnerable. It should be confirmed that children and young people have received their recommended doses of MMR at 12-13 months of age and again pre-school around 3 years 6 months. Unimmunised adults who have not had the disease themselves may consider vaccination if thought to be at risk.

Two doses of MMR vaccine are required to give adequate protection.