Measles outbreak warning
GOLD COASTERS and those on the northern coast of NSW have been warned to be alert for signs of measles following an outbreak of the highly contagious disease.
The NSW State Government has issued warnings after two young travellers became the latest people to become infected with the viral illness.
The travellers likely acquired the infection while holidaying in the Philippines in mid-March and were unwell and infectious during their return flights to the Gold Coast via Singapore.
The pair were infectious when they landed at Coolangatta International Airport at 8:10am on Saturday March 30 on Scoot flight TR6.
The infected individuals then travelled from Coolangatta International Airport to Pottsville via Uber on Tuesday April 2nd where they visited shops in Pottsville and Cabarita, including IGA at Pottsville and Woolworths at Cabarita.
On Wednesday April 3rd they attended a Main Street Medical centre in Murwillumbah and then the Tweed Hospital Emergency Department.
They were also present at the Tweed Hospital ED the following day, Thursday April 4th.
The North Coast Public Health Unit is urging people who were on the Scoot flight TR6 and at the same locations as the travellers to be alert for symptoms of measles until 22 April.
It can take up to 18 days for symptoms to appear following exposure to a person with measles.
Greg Bell, Acting Director of Public Health for the Mid North Coast and Northern NSW Local Health Districts, said while those locations do not pose an ongoing risk, people who may be susceptible to measles and were there on the same days, should contact their local public health unit for advice.
"The local public health unit is working with the medical centre and hospital to contact
other patients who were present at the same time as the infectious people and offer
preventive treatment as appropriate," Mr Bell said.
"Anyone who develops symptoms should call ahead to their GP to ensure they're not
in the waiting room with other patients."
Symptoms of measles include fever, sore eyes and a cough followed three or four days later by a red, blotchy rash spreading from the head and neck to the body.
Preventive injections can be given to highly-susceptible people up to six days after exposure to measles.
"The measles-mumps-rubella vaccine is safe and effective protection against measles," Mr Bell said.
"It's free for anyone born during or after 1966 who hasn't already had two doses. If
you're unsure whether you've had two doses, it's safe to have another."
Measles is highly contagious and is spread in the air through coughing or sneezing
by someone who is unwell with the disease.
While the risk of infection is low in fully-vaccinated people, health experts urge anyone who comes into contact with someone who has measles to remain alert for symptoms.