News

Measles cluster in Perth metropolitan area

1 October 2019

If you live in or have visited the Perth metropolitan area, particularly the southern suburbs, be alert to the risk of measles following 5 confirmed measles cases in people who live in the Rockingham area.

Boy with a red blotchy measles rash on his back, neck and face

People who have been inadvertently exposed are at risk of developing measles if they are not already immune and should remain vigilant for the onset of measles symptoms for the next 3 weeks.

Measles is a serious and highly contagious viral illness spread by tiny droplets released when infected people cough and sneeze.

What are the symptoms of measles?

People with measles typically develop symptoms approximately 10 days after being exposed to the virus, but this can vary from 7 to 18 days. Early symptoms include fever, cough, runny nose and sore eyes, followed by a red blotchy rash 3 or 4 days later. The rash usually starts on the face and spreads to the rest of the body. Anyone who has had a potential exposure to measles, and who develops a fever with these other symptoms should see a doctor. Measles is contagious for about 4 days before and after the development of the rash.

People who are concerned they may have measles and require medical advice after hours can contact healthdirect on 1800 022 222.

It is important to call ahead when travelling to a clinic or Emergency Department so people with measles can be isolated from infecting other patients and staff.

Have you been fully vaccinated against measles?

People born during or after 1966 (those aged between 20-53 years in 2019) are usually immune to measles because they had the illness as a child, but are requested to check that they have had 2 doses of measles-containing vaccine, especially if they plan to travel overseas. If they are not sure, they are eligible for a free vaccine from their GP, Aboriginal Medical Service, travel clinic or community health immunisation clinic.

Parents are also urged to make sure their children receive their measles vaccinations on schedule. Measles vaccine is currently given to children at 12 and 18 months of age.

Learn more about measles and the measles mumps rubella (MMR) vaccine.