First measles case in two years puts two Aussie states on alert

Victoria has recorded its first measles case in two years after a Melbourne woman returned home from an overseas trip via regional NSW.

The woman, aged in her 30s, had been holidaying in the UK and Italy before she developed symptoms of the highly infectious viral disease while in Albury on the Queen’s Birthday long weekend.

She immediately sought medical attention, according to the Victorian Health Department.

A man with a rash (left) and a baby with a rash (right)
Victoria has recorded its first measles case in two years. Source: Victorian Department of Health/NSW Health

Health authorities have since identified four public exposure sites.

They include a busy pub in Albury, the Astor Hotel, where the woman spent two and a half hours on Sunday June 12 from 12.30pm, and Culcairn Ampol Station from 12pm to 12.35pm.

In Geelong, she visited Justin Lane restaurant between 12.30pm and 3pm on Monday, before a trip to the DFO Southwark in Melbourne on Tuesday from 12.20pm to 1.05pm.

Those who visited the exposure sites are being urged to keep a close eye out for symptoms, which can take almost three weeks to appear.

The Astor Hotel in Albury
The Astor Hotel in Albury has been identified as one of the four public exposure sites. Source: Google Maps

The illness usually begins with a fever, cough, runny nose and sore red eyes, followed by the tell-tale red spotty rash three to seven days later which starts on the head and spreads to the rest of the body.

“While this is the first case to visit NSW for two years, it just shows how important it is for everyone to make sure they have had two measles shots,” Dr Jeremy McAnulty, Executive Director, Health Protection, NSW said.

“Measles is one of the most contagious diseases for humans but two doses of measles-mumps-rubella vaccine provide lifelong protection in 99 out of 100 vaccinated people.”

Anyone experiencing symptoms should call their doctor or emergency department before attending to limit the potential spread of injection.

Those most at risk include babies under 11 months, who aren’t old enough to have received the measles vaccination, pregnant women who haven’t had the vaccine, and people with a weakened immune system.

Measles can have serious complications including ear infections, diarrhoea and pneumonia, and may require hospitalisation.

It is usually spread when a person breathes in the virus that has been coughed or sneezed into the air by an infected person.

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