Urgent warning about measles risk
AUSSIES who holiday in Bali and visitors to the Sydney Opera House are among hundreds urged to look out for measles symptoms after a young woman and baby contracted the disease.
The two new cases take the number of people infectious with the highly contagious disease in the state since Christmas to 19, NSW Health said yesterday.
In one case, a woman aged in her 20s developed the measles rash after arriving in Sydney from Bali on Qantas flight QF44 about 6.30am on February 21.
Health officials are advising those on the flight, in the Sydney international terminal and visitors to the Opera House later that day to remain on the lookout for measles signs and symptoms until March 16.
The woman also stayed at the Langham Hotel on Kent St in Sydney last month.
A Sydney baby - too young to receive their routine measles vaccine - also developed the disease after arriving home from the Philippines.
Macquarie Shopping Centre (February 26 and March 2), My Health Macquarie (March 1 and 2) and the Northern Beaches Hospital (March 3) are among the places the infant visited while infectious.
Those in the same places at the same times should look out for symptoms until March 21.
Measles symptoms include fever, sore eyes and a cough followed by a red, blotchy rash on the head and neck that spreads to the rest of the body.
"If you develop symptoms please call ahead to your GP so you do not wait in the waiting room with other patients," NSW Health director Vicky Sheppeard said.
Australia is currently at high risk of importing measles due to outbreaks of the disease in southeast Asia.
NSW Health urges everyone to ensure they are fully vaccinated before heading overseas. Infants under 12 months of age can receive their first measles vaccine as early as 9 months old to protect them when they travel.
"The measles-mumps-rubella vaccine is safe and effective protection against measles," Dr Sheppeard said.
"It is free for anyone born during or after 1966 who hasn't already had two doses. If you're unsure whether you've had two doses, it's quite safe to have another."
Measles is highly contagious and is spread in the air through coughing or sneezing by someone who is unwell with the disease.