PREVENTABLE: Health authorities issued a measles warning for the Norfthern Rivers.
PREVENTABLE: Health authorities issued a measles warning for the Norfthern Rivers. Thinkstock

Measles alert for Northern Rivers after child diagnosed

UPDATE 9.17am: HEALTH authorities have updated a measles warning issued yesterday.

A child diagnosed with measles visited the following locations in and around Byron Bay while infectious:

  • Friday 30 August: Attended the Byron Bay and Suffolk Park shopping areas during the day.
  • Sunday 1 September (Fathers' Day): Attended the Harvest Deli & Bakery in Newrybar between about 10am and 11am. 
  • Sunday 1 September  between 5.30pm and 7.00pm: Elements Resort and Spa, Byron Bay.

 

Original story: HEALTH authorities and medical experts urged people to watch for measles symptoms as a Byron Bay child was diagnosed with the infectious disease.

Measles is a viral infection that's serious for small children but is easily preventable by a vaccine.

The disease spreads through the air by respiratory droplets produced from coughing or sneezing.

Measles symptoms don't appear until 10 to 14 days after exposure. They include cough, runny nose, inflamed eyes, sore throat, fever and a red, blotchy skin rash.

The child infected developed symptoms four days after returning from a trip to New Zealand and visited the following locations in and around Byron Bay while infectious:

  • Friday 30 August: Attended the Byron Bay and Suffolk Park shopping areas during the day.
  • Sunday 1 September (Fathers' Day): Attended the Harvest Deli & Bakery in Newrybar between about 10am and 11am.

Director of the North Coast Public Health Unit, Paul Corben, said the locations do not pose an ongoing risk, but anyone who was in the locations at the same time as the child should watch for measles symptoms until Friday, September 20.

"It can take up to 18 days for symptoms to appear following exposure to a person with measles," Mr Corben said.

"Symptoms to watch out for include fever, sore eyes and a cough followed three or four days later by a red, blotchy rash that spreads from the head to the rest of the body.

"Anyone who develops symptoms of measles should arrange to see their GP and limit their exposure to others, including patients at the GP clinic."

Mr Corben encouraged everyone in the Byron Bay region to ensure they had received two doses of the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine, which provides lifelong protection in 99 out of 100 people who are vaccinated.

"The measles-mumps-rubella vaccine is safe and effective protection against measles," he said.

"It's 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 safe to have another."

While the risk of infection is low in fully-vaccinated people, health experts urge anyone who comes into contact with a person with measles to watch for symptoms.


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