Measles alert: four more confirmed cases in Perth

PIC: File

The Department of Health has issued a measles alert after four confirmed cases in the past week.

Nine people have now been infected in Perth since mid-March, including four adults, four infants and a teenager.

WA Health Medical Epidemiologist Dr Gary Dowse said that seven of the nine cases were infected while travelling overseas, including two infants exposed to an infectious case on international flights from India and Kuala Lumpur.

The imported cases have been infected in Bali, Thailand, India and Malaysia.

In addition, two cases have been infected in WA – one in a hospital emergency department attended by one of the imported cases, and the other somewhere in the Kalamunda area.

The case from the Kalamunda area has no travel history and no identifiable source of infection. This suggests that there has been an undiagnosed case in that area, meaning there could be a risk that other people might have also been infected.

“With high vaccination coverage, naturally occurring measles has been eliminated from WA for around 20 years but occasional cases and small outbreaks still occur – associated with tourists or WA residents who are infected overseas,” Dr Dowse said.

“Every imported measles case is treated as a public health emergency because of the risk of local spread – including to those most vulnerable to infection such as infants too young to be vaccinated, pregnant women and those with compromised immune systems.”

People could have been exposed to the most recent cases at the following locations in Perth:

  • the arrivals area of Perth International Airport on the afternoon of Friday 30 March
  • St John Medical (Apollo Health) in Cannington during the early afternoon of Saturday 31 March
  • Joondalup line train from Clarkson to Leederville and return (morning and afternoon) on Tuesday 3rd April
  • Quinns Mindarie Super Clinic in Quinns Rocks around midday on 6 April
  • Princess Margaret Hospital Emergency Department on the mornings of Thursday 7 April and Thursday 12 April
  • St Luke Medical Centre in Karrinyup during late mornings of Tuesday 10 April and Wednesday 11 April
  • Joondalup Hospital Emergency Department on Monday 9 April (mid-afternoon) and Friday 13 April (mid-morning to late afternoon)
  • Craigie Medical Centre in Craigie on Wednesday 11 April in the early evening
  • Mead Medical in Forrestfield mid-morning on Saturday 14 April
  • Hale Road Medical in Forrestfield around midday on Sunday 15 April
  • Princess Margaret Hospital Emergency Department during the early afternoon of  Sunday 15 April.

In addition, travellers could have been exposed on the following Malindo Air flights:

  • flight OD 272 , departing Amritsar, India on 29 March  at 22:30, arriving in Kuala Lumpur on 30 March 2018, around 07:00
  • flight OD 151, departing Kuala Lumpur on 30 March around 08:25, arriving in Perth on 30 March around 14:10.

Anyone who thinks they might have measles should call ahead so that they can be isolated immediately on arrival at the GP surgery or Emergency Department, to prevent infecting other patients and staff.

Measles is contagious for about four days before and after the development of the rash. Children and adults who have been unwittingly exposed are at risk of developing measles if they are not immune.

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

Early symptoms include fever, cough, runny nose and sore eyes, followed by a red blotchy rash about three days later. The rash usually starts on the face and spreads to the rest of the body.

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