Victoria’s chief health officer, Doctor Brett Sutton, has warned Melburnians travelling overseas during the Christmas period to ensure they are properly vaccinated, after three more cases of measles were confirmed in the state.
A woman in her fifties is being treating in hospital, while a man and woman who are both in the in their thirties are being treated at their homes.
“Anyone planning to travel overseas for Christmas can get immunised now, even if they are not sure of their previous vaccination history, so that an illness like measles does not destroy their celebrations,” Dr Sutton said in a statement today.
There have been nine cases of measles diagnosed in Victoria in the past two weeks, taking the total to 56 this year.
Dr Sutton also named several places in Melbourne people may have come into contact with the virus between November 22 and December 5, including Thomastown’s Futsal Oz stadium, the Hellenic Republic restaurant in Brighton, the 109 tram route and terminal three at Melbourne Airport.
Anyone who visited Futsal Oz on November 22 between 10pm and midnight; Hellenic Republic at any time on November 29; or boarded Virgin Australia flight VA322 on November 30 (which departed Brisbane at 9.55am and arrived in Melbourne at 1.30pm) may have been exposed. People who passed through terminal three at Melbourne Airport between 1.30pm and 2.45pm on November 30, and commuters who travelled from Port Melbourne to the CBD on the 109 tram between December 3 and 5, should also keep an eye out for symptoms.
The illness usually begins with cold-like symptoms such as a runny nose, red eyes and a cough, followed by a fever and rash. The rash typically appears three to seven days after the initial onset of symptoms.
Currently, none of the named locations pose an ongoing risk, but it can take up to 18 days for symptoms to start following exposure.
Almost all of the current Victorian cases were diagnosed in people who were not fully immunised against measles, and who either travelled overseas or came into contact with overseas travellers, Dr Sutton said.
“Free MMR vaccine is now available from GPs and some pharmacies for all eligible people born during or since 1966,” Dr Sutton said. “Patients who are unsure of their vaccination status or are aged over 18 months and have only had one vaccine, should be vaccinated.”
There are current measles outbreaks in New Zealand, Samoa, Asia, Europe and America.
More information on measles can be found at health.vic.gov.au.