Sydney’s measles patient count continues to rise, with the latest infectious person spending time at the Powerhouse Museum, Darling Harbour and a busy shopping centre in the middle of school holidays.
NSW Health is urging people between 20 and 40 years old to check they have been fully immunised against the infectious disease, reporting the latest person to contract measles only had their first dose of the vaccine.
The most recent case brings to 17 the number of patients connected to an outbreak in western Sydney, and the total number of NSW measles cases so far this year to 23.
While infectious, the individual visited: Powerhouse Museum on April 14 in the early afternoonRashays, Darling Harbour on April 14 later in the afternoonLiverpool Westfield, including an optometry practice on April 13,15 and 17Blacktown Hospital on April 15 between approximately 7.30 and 8pmCasula Central Medical Practice and Chemist Warehouse on April 18 at approximately 10am
“Our public health units are contacting people known to have been in those locations to offer preventive injections, as appropriate. However, it will not be possible to identify and contact all people who may have been exposed to the disease,” Director of Communicable Disease at NSW Health Vicky Sheppeard said.
“Measles is highly contagious and is spread in the air through coughing or sneezing by someone who is unwell with the disease,” she said.
People born between 1966 and 1994 may have only had one dose of the vaccine rather than the two doses needed due to the changing vaccination schedules over the period, Dr Sheppeard said.
“We are urging all people in this age bracket to check their vaccination history and have the measles vaccine if they do not have a record of having received two doses previously.
“Don’t assume you are covered unless you have written records of two doses. It is perfectly safe to have the measles vaccine again, if you are not sure whether you’ve had two doses of the vaccination in the past,” she said.
The vaccine is free to people in this age group through GPs.
Dr Sheppeard said it was important for people to watch for symptoms, arrange to see the GP if concerned, and limit exposure to others until the GP has made a diagnosis.
Symptoms of measles include fever, sore red eyes and a cough followed three or four days later by a red, blotchy rash spreading from the head and neck to the rest of the body.