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Aussies on alert after child infected with virus attends school

The warning comes amid a global outbreak, particularly in certain Asian countries.

Aussies have been warned to be wary for symptoms of measles after a returned overseas traveller was diagnosed with the highly-contagious disease, sparking a major health alert.

NSW Health said the person, who recently returned from Asia, was diagnosed in Murwillumbah in the Northern Rivers and attended at least two different sites while infectious. The authority said those onboard a Singh Company school bus on February 5, in the morning or afternoon, may have been exposed.

Measles in a child.
Measles can spread quickly and symptoms first appear cold-like, before the onset of a red rash. Source: Getty

Aussies warned as infectious traveller returns to NSW

Similarly, people who were present at the Emergency Department at the Murwillumbah Hospital on February 9 between 1.15pm to 4pm or on February 10 between 12.15pm to 8pm, should also watch for symptoms.

Measles is a very contagious viral illness that causes rash and fever and can have symptoms similar to cold or flu initially. It can cause serious complications, including pneumonia and encephalitis.

Though rare in Australia due to high rates of vaccination, authorities are warning people to stay vigilant in the wake of major breakouts overseas, particularly in parts of Asia, including Indonesia, India and Pakistan.

Late last month, NSW Health issued a measles alert after a confirmed case was found to be infectious while travelling through Sydney International Airport, landing in the ACT.

Authorities urge people with symptoms to seek advice

North Coast Regional Director of Population and Public Health Dr Valerie Delpech warned people to seek medical advice should they feel unwell.

Measles cells.
NSW Health said a person who recently returned from Asia was diagnosed with the highly-contagious virus in the last week. Source: Getty

"Symptoms of measles include fever, runny nose, sore eyes and a cough, usually followed three or four days later by a red, blotchy rash that spreads from the head to the rest of the body," she said.

"It's important for people to stay vigilant if they've been exposed, and if they develop symptoms, to please call ahead to their GP or emergency department to ensure they do not spend time in the waiting room with other patients."

The virus spreads quickly with close contact, especially in those who are unvaccinated.

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