Third case of measles: sufferer travelled down coast

QUEENSLAND Health is asking Queensland residents to look out for measles symptoms after it received notification of a third case in just over two weeks.

The case is unrelated to two other cases, and is an overseas traveller who became unwell while visiting Cairns on August 16. 

The visitor also spent time on Fitzroy Island on August 16 and then travelled by car down the coast.

They stayed at Townsville on August 17, Airlie Beach on August 18, Rockhampton on August 19, Hervey Bay and Fraser Island on August 20-22, and Brisbane, before flying to Sydney at the end of their infectious period on August 24.

While the risk to the general public is considered low, anyone who is not immune through past disease or vaccination may be vulnerable if they are in the vicinity of an infected person.

Close contacts of the case are being followed up by relevant authorities.

Queensland Health says most Australians born before 1966 are naturally protected against measles. 

Adults born since 1966 may not be fully vaccinated and are unlikely to have natural protection. 

Anyone born since 1966 who is unsure if they have been vaccinated against measles is advised to see their GP and have a dose of MMR vaccine.

Communicable Diseases Unit acting senior director Dr Sonya Bennett said measles was one of the most infectious of all communicable diseases. It is spread by tiny droplets through coughing and sneezing.

Symptoms usually start around 10 days after infection, but sometimes later.

The initial symptoms are fever, lethargy, runny nose, moist cough and sore and red eyes, followed a few days later by a blotchy rash. 

The rash starts on the face then becomes widespread.  The person can pass infection on to others from the day before onset of illness until four days after the onset of rash.

Dr Bennett said anyone who developed measles-like symptoms should isolate themselves and seek medical advice.

A fact sheet for the public about measles is available from Queensland Health here.

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