Council offers free measles shots with eight cases confirmed

IPSWICH City Council will be running free measles vaccination clinics, even for those without a Medicare card, in response to eight confirmed cases in Ipswich in the past month.

West Moreton Health public health physician Dr Vicki Slinko said staff have been working for the past few weeks to trace all those who may have been exposed to measles to try to prevent the disease and test all potential measles cases early to contain the infection.

READ MORE: Everything you need to know about Ipswich's measles outbreak

Four of the patients have visited parts of Ipswich while unknowingly infectious, with the eighth confirmed case having visited:

•Falvey's Grand Hotel, Yamanto from 10pm Friday, November 26 to 2am Saturday, November 27 2019

•Booval Shopping Centre including Woolworths around 11am on Monday, December 2 2019

•Sunshine Kebabs and Pizza, Acacia Ridge, in the afternoon of December 2 2019

•HL Max Tyre and Wheels, Archerfield, in the afternoon of December 2 2019

"People in those areas at those times who are unsure or have concerns about their or their children's immunity to measles should contact their doctor to check whether they have had a full course of two measles vaccines," Dr Slinko said.

Five of the eight patients with confirmed measles have been treated at the Ipswich Hospital's emergency department.

West Moreton Health's infectious diseases team have been tracing and following up to check the immunity and health status with any other patients in the ED when these cases presented.

Dr Slinko said measles spreads very easily in the air when a person with the infection coughs or sneezes, so people in those areas should particularly look for symptoms over the next couple of weeks.

As there have been several other people infectious with measles in a variety of public places over the last three weeks, all residents of Ipswich and surrounding areas need to be aware of the signs and symptoms of disease.

"People who are unsure or don't know about their immunity to measles should contact their doctor to check whether they have had a full course of two measles vaccines," Dr Slinko said.

Dr Slinko is also urging other members of the public in Ipswich and surrounding communities to talk with their doctor about vaccination for measles - this is especially for those who are preparing for travel or who will have contact with travellers, especially over the holiday season.

Measles would be a very unwelcome Christmas gift.

The initial symptoms of measles include fever, tiredness, runny nose, cough, and sore and red eyes.

"This is followed a few days later by a blotchy, red rash which often starts on the face and then becomes widespread over the body," Dr Slinko said.

"If unwell with the symptoms of measles, it is very important to phone ahead to your GP or other health service and advise them first that you could have measles, so that staff can take precautions to prevent spread to others."

Due to measles being common before 1966, anyone born before 1966 is likely to have had the disease as a child and now be immune to measles.

Dr Slinko said people who have been adequately vaccinated with two recorded doses of Measles Mumps Rubella vaccine are also likely to be immune.

For information on free measles vaccination clinics visit here.

For more information on measles visit the Queensland Health website or contact 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84) any time, any day.