News

Measles alert for Perth

9 January 2020

Western Australians are being asked to be alert to the risk of measles following a confirmed measles case in a person who visited two public venues in Perth last week.

Boy with a red blotchy measles rash on his back, neck and face

People without measles immunity are warned to remain vigilant for the onset of symptoms for the next three weeks if they were at the following venues:

  • South Perth foreshore park on Thursday 2 January between 4.30pm and 8pm
  • Secret Harbour Shopping Centre on Saturday 4 January between 10.30am and 12.00pm (midday)

There is no current or ongoing risk of acquiring measles from visiting these venues – potential exposure to measles occurred only on the dates and times specified.

However, every measles case is treated as a public health emergency because of the risk of local spread.

Measles is a serious and highly contagious viral illness spread when infected people cough and sneeze. Being in the same room in, or soon after, someone with measles can result in infection in people who are not immune.

What are the symptoms of measles?

People with measles typically develop symptoms approximately 10 days after being exposed to the virus, but this can vary from 7 to 18 days. Early symptoms include fever, cough, runny nose and sore eyes, followed by a red blotchy rash 3 or 4 days later. The rash usually starts on the face and spreads to the rest of the body. Anyone who has had a potential exposure to measles, and who develops a fever with these other symptoms should see a doctor. Measles is contagious for about 4 days before and after the development of the rash.

Anyone who has had a potential exposure to measles, and who develops a fever with these other symptoms should see a doctor.

People who are concerned they may have measles and require medical advice after hours can contact healthdirect on 1800 022 222.

It is important to call ahead when travelling to a clinic or Emergency Department so people with measles can be isolated from infecting other patients and staff.

Have you been fully vaccinated against measles?

Adults

People born before 1966 are usually immune to measles because they had the illness as a child. People born during or after 1966 need 2 doses of the measles-containing vaccine to be fully covered, especially if they plan to travel overseas. People aged 53 years or younger in 2019 who have not had the second dose of the vaccine, or if they are not sure, are eligible for a free vaccine from their GP, Aboriginal Medical Service, travel clinic or community health immunisation clinic.

Children

Parents are also urged to make sure their children receive their measles vaccinations on schedule. Measles vaccine is currently given to children at 12 and 18 months of age. Refer to the childhood immunisation schedule.

Learn more about measles and the measles mumps rubella (MMR) vaccine.