Health authorities have issued a measles alert after an infectious woman spent time at one of the Sunshine Coast’s popular tourist destinations. Picture: Supplied
Health authorities have issued a measles alert after an infectious woman spent time at one of the Sunshine Coast’s popular tourist destinations. Picture: Supplied

Infectious disease hits popular tourism hotspot

HEALTH authorities have issued a measles alert after an infectious woman spent time at one of the Sunshine Coast's most popular tourist destinations.

In a statement, Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service said they service is responding to a new notification of measles in an adult woman.

The woman is said to have spent time at the Mooloolaba precinct while she was infectious.

SCHHS public health unit director, Dr Virginia McLaughlin said the woman was most likely exposed to measles in Asia, where she had been travelling, and there is known ongoing measles activity.

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"The woman was unknowingly infectious while visiting the Mooloolaba Wharf precinct on January 23 between 7pm and 9pm," Dr McLaughlin said.

"We urge anyone who was at this location during this time to ensure they are protected against measles and to seek medical advice if they develop symptoms."

Co-owner of The Wharf Mooloolaba Dirk Long said the precinct respected the advice of Queensland Health and would follow all protocols.

Mr Long said the alert and health warning would be posted through The Wharf's social media channels.

He said business would still operate "as usual" at the precinct.

Measles is one of the most infectious of all communicable diseases and can be acquired in public places if infectious people are present. Measles is spread by tiny droplets through coughing and sneezing.

The initial symptoms are fever, lethargy, runny nose, moist cough and sore and red eyes, followed a few days later by a blotchy red rash. The rash starts on the face then becomes widespread. Symptoms usually start around 10 days after infection but sometimes later.

"Anyone who was at this location during this time who develops measles-like symptoms up until February 6 should contact their General Practitioner (GP) for advice," Dr McLaughlin said.

"It is very important to call the medical practice first to say you could have measles, so that staff have precautions in place when you arrive to avoid spreading the disease to others.

"This is a reminder that everyone should take the opportunity to make sure they are vaccinated against measles."

"If you are planning overseas travel it is important to ensure that you are protected against measles before travelling."

AMA Sunshine Coast president Dr Roger Faint strongly urged anyone travelling overseas to get the measles vaccination.

"Last year we had the south sea islander measles epidemic which killed many children," Dr Faint said.

"People need to be vaccinated."