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Measles epidemic in south-west Sydney
Measles epidemic in south-west Sydney

Health officials have taken the unusual step of writing to thousands of families in Sydney's south-west warning of a measles epidemic.

At least 120 people in the area have contracted the virus so far this year.

Thirteen-month-old Abby Fraley has not long ago had the first of two measles vaccinations, but at the start of the week a red blotchy rash covered her back and stomach, and her parents became worried.

"That’s when I rang my husband and said you need to come home we need to take her and get this checked," Mother Julie Fraley said.

A series of tests on the infant confirmed only today that Abby had contracted measles.

"I thought I was the only one, so yeah it’s a bit of a concern to hear it’s out there at the moment."

Since April, New South Wales has seen the biggest outbreak of measles in fifteen years, with 170 cases across the state, and three quarters of those in Sydney's south west.

"There's been plenty of measles around. We're still not confident the epidemic is over," Dr Stephen Conaty from the New South Wales Health Department said.

It has prompted a mail-out of up to up to 150,000 families across the south-west and western Sydney with children under 14, urging them to vaccinate.About a fifth of recent cases are so bad that they've ended up at hospital.Victims not only had measles but also the complications caused by it, like pneumonia.Early symptoms include runny nose, high fever, and blotchy red rash.Thankfully little Abby is on the mend.