3 November 2017

Second measles case: Where you could have been exposed

| Ian Bushnell
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Measles vaccination

ACT Health says vaccination remains the best protection against measles.

ACT Health is warning the community to be on the alert for measles after the confirmation of a second case of the highly contagious illness in two weeks.

It said the person with this second case of measles visited several public locations in Gungahlin and one in Woden while infectious and before being diagnosed.

Specific exposure sites include Spar Express Supermarket at Ngunnawal Shopping Centre, IGA Ngunnawal at Ngunnawal Shopping Centre and Coles Amaroo at Amaroo Village on Thursday 26 October.

On Friday 27 October, the person visited Ngunnawal Pharmacy at Ngunnawal Shopping Centre at about 3 pm, Kmart Gungahlin at Gunghalin Shopping Centre from 4 pm to 5 pm, and the Hogs Breath Café in Woden from 8 pm to 9.30 pm.

On Sunday 29 October, the person visited Coles Gungahlin at Gunghalin Village about 6 pm and Cold Rock Gungahlin at Gunghalin Village from 6 pm to 6.45 pm.

ACT Chief Health Officer Dr Paul Kelly said the Health Protection Service was following up people known to have been in contact with this latest case of measles but because the person visited several public locations while infectious, it would not be possible to identify and contact everybody who may have been exposed.

“That’s why we have the dates and places the person is known to have visited on the ACT Health website and we encourage the community to visit the website and view this information,” he said.

“We also strongly encourage people who were in the same locations as the latest case to keep a close watch for symptoms. These include fever, tiredness, runny nose, sore eyes and a cough, followed by a rash, which appears two to seven days later.”

Dr Kelly urged anyone with symptoms of measles to alert their health care provider before they arrived so appropriate infection control precautions could be put in place to stop the spread of the infection.

Dr Kelly said the best way to protect one’s self and family against measles was vaccination.

“Those who have upcoming overseas travel should check their immunisation status and get up to date if needed. This vaccine is free for anyone in the ACT who have not received two doses of the vaccine,” he said.

Two doses of Measles Mumps Rubella vaccine (MMR) are recommended to provide adequate immunity, and although the vaccine is normally given to children at 12 months and 18 months of age, it can be given at any age after nine months.

Measles is a serious disease and is highly contagious among people who are not fully immunised. People generally develop symptoms seven to eighteen days after being exposed to a person with infectious measles, with 10 days being more common.

People are infectious from five days before they develop a rash until four days after. The virus is spread from an infectious person during coughing and sneezing or through direct contact with secretions from the nose or mouth.

Information on dates and places the individual is known to have visited can be found on the ACT Health website.

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