Measles warning after two babies diagnosed in NSW

baby measles outbreak

Parents are being warned to be alert for signs and symptoms of measles after two babies too young to be vaccinated were diagnosed with the infectious disease.

NSW Health says the infants probably became infected from recent cases in Sydney. It follows several confirmed measles cases in Melbourne this year.

Two babies infected

An eight-month-old baby most likely caught the infection in the Haymarket area near World Square. The infant spent time at the following locations while infectious:

  • Yass Korean BBQ Buffet, 1/39 The Boulevarde, Strathfield on Tuesday 26 March, between 6:30pm and 10:00pm;
  • Time Brasserie (restaurant/café), Shop 11, Level 1 Time Plaza Hurstville 127-137 Forest Rd Hurstville on Wednesday 27 March between 4:00pm and 5:30pm; and
  • St George Hospital Emergency Department, 28a Gray St Kogarah on Saturday 30 March between 7:30pm and 11:00pm.

An 11-month-old infant likely caught the infection in the Eastwood area. The infant spent time at the following locations while infectious:

  • Eastwood Plaza 152-160 Rowe St Eastwood, including play areas near Woolworths and on the first floor on Saturday 23 and Sunday 24 of March;
  • Castle Towers, 6-14 Castle St Castle Hill, including play area on the Lower Ground floor on Tuesday 26 and Friday 29 March;
  • The North Village 10-12 Hezlett Rd Kellyville on Wednesday 27, Friday 29 and Saturday 30 March; and
    North Village Family Practice, Shop S3 the North Village Kellyville, on Wednesday 27 at 12-1.15pm, Friday 29 5.30-6.30pm and Saturday 30 March 9 to 12pm.

NSW Health Director of Communicable Diseases, Dr Vicky Sheppeard, said while the above places don’t pose an ongoing risk, people who may be susceptible to measles and were at the above locations at the identified times should contact their local public health unit for advice on 1300 066 055.

“The local public health units are working directly with medical practices and hospitals to follow up other patients present at the same time as the infants, and offer preventive treatment as appropriate,” Dr Sheppeard said.

People who have spent time in the same locations at the same times as these infants should be alert for signs and symptoms of measles until 18 April 2019, as it can take up to 18 days for symptoms to appear following exposure to a person with measles.

Symptoms include fever, sore eyes and cough followed three or four days later by a red, blotchy rash spreading from the head and neck to the rest of the body.

“If you develop symptoms, please call ahead to your GP to ensure you do not wait in the waiting room with other patients,” Dr Sheppeard said.

For other members of the public, authorities are issuing reminders about vaccinations.

“The measles-mumps-rubella vaccine is safe and effective protection against measles. 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.”

What you need to know early measles symptoms

Measles outbreak in Brisbane

Measles has an incubation period between 7 and 18 days (average 14 days from exposure to rash).

Who is at risk?

  • Children younger than five-years-old
  • Anyone with a chronic illness
  • Anyone who hasn’t been immunised

What are the symptoms?

  • First symptoms include fever (at least 38°C), a severe cough and conjunctivitis (sore, red eyes).
  • General discomfort, illness or lack of wellbeing (malaise)
  • Runny nose
  • Red and bluish spots inside the mouth (Koplik’s spots)
  • Red and blotchy skin rash that appears first on the face and hairline, and then spreads to the body and usually lasts more than three days.

How does measles spread?

The virus is usually spread when someone swallows or inhales a cough or sneeze droplets from an infected person. However, you can also catch it from touching surfaces that have been contaminated by someone who has the measles – the virus in mucus and saliva droplets stays alive for several hours.

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