Public health officials are warning West Australians to check they are vaccinated against measles, after a surge in cases in the past three months.
The WA Health Department upgraded its alert late today, after two people had to be hospitalised in the past week, making a total of 14 cases since last October.
This compares to an average of three cases during the same period in the previous five years.
The latest cases are a woman in her 30s and a man in his 40s who were admitted to hospital after being infected with measles following travel to Asia.
Last week, the department warned about a possible outbreak from people being exposed to the highly infectious measles virus at Garden City Hoyts Cinema Complex in Booragoon on January 8.
Acting director of communicable disease control Paul Effler said yesterday it was possible that more measles cases would occur in WA over the coming weeks.
Dr Effler urged travellers to take special care and said parents should to check their children’s vaccination record to make sure it was up to date.
Children should receive a dose of measles vaccine at both 12 and 18 months of age, as part of the routine childhood immunisation schedule.
He said measles was highly contagious among people who were not fully immunised and spread through coughing and sneezing.
Symptoms can include fever, tiredness, runny nose, cough and sore red eyes which usually last for several days before a red, blotchy rash appears.
Complications can range from an ear infection and diarrhoea to pneumonia or swelling of the brain.
“Measles is still common in many parts of the world and Australians who travel abroad need to check their immunisation status,” Dr Effler said.
“If you are younger than 49 years old and are not sure if you’ve had two doses of measles vaccine you should consult with your doctor at least a month before your departure.”