Although measles is largely eradicated in Australia, it can be reintroduced through unvaccinated travellers who have been exposed to measles overseas. Worldwide, measles is the fifth highest cause of illness and death in children. Since the beginning of the year, there have been 67 reported cases of measles, the Department reported.

Off the back of these outbreaks, NSW Health issued a statement urging Australians to stay up to date with their vaccinations.

The Department also warned travellers to get vaccinated before heading overseas.

"People returning from overseas, especially from the Philippines, should be on the lookout for symptoms of measles, which starts with a fever, cough, sore red eyes and a runny nose for several days before a blotchy rash appears," Dr Sheppeard said.

"Measles is spread through coughing and sneezing, and is one of the most contagious infections known," said Dr Vicky Sheppeard, Director of Communicable Diseases at NSW Health.

"Complications can range from swelling of the brain and pneumonia to ear infections and diarrhoea."

How to prevent the spread of measles

If you notice any measles symptoms:

  • Call your doctor immediately to arrange medical treatment

  • Stay at home to prevent the spread of the disease

  • Drink plenty of fluids and rest

Getting vaccinated

  • NSW Health recommends two doses of MMR vaccine (measles, mumps & rubella)

  • Vaccinate children at 12 months, and then again at 18 months

  • Anyone born in 1966 who has never been vaccinated needs to see their GP to receive two doses of measles, at least four weeks apart.

  • It’s safe to be vaccinated more than twice, so if you’re unsure, you can get vaccinated again to avoid getting measles.

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Market Street Medical Practice

20 Market Street

Wollongong  NSW  2500

Phone  02 4229 4533

Fax       02 4229 9297

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