Aug 10, 2017

Health authorities issue measles warning after Perth student infected

The measles vaccine is given in two doses.
The measles vaccine is given in two doses.
Cathy O’Leary
WA NEWS
August 4, 2017

Health authorities have issued a warning for a potential measles outbreak, after a Perth high school student was confirmed with the infection after returning from holiday in Italy.

Before being diagnosed, and while still infectious with the highly contagious illness, the student attended Perth Waldorf School in Bibra Lake in Perth’s south.

The student was also in the Midland area on the afternoon of Tuesday, July 25 and in the early afternoon of Sunday, July 30, and may have exposed people there.

The WA Health Department said a substantial number of Perth Waldorf students exposed at the school have not been vaccinated against measles.

The measles vaccine is given in two doses.

The school, which also has pre-school and primary school students, has a metropolitan-wide catchment, making it likely more cases of measles will occur in Perth over the coming weeks.

The school has been working closely with public health staff in notifying parents of the potential exposure.

Director of Communicable Diseases Paul Armstrong said about nine out of 10 susceptible persons in close contact with a measles patient would develop the illness.

“The illness is spread by tiny droplets, released when infected people cough and sneeze,” Dr Armstrong said.

Early symptoms include fever, cough, runny nose and sore eyes. These are followed, about three days later, by a red blotchy rash. The rash usually starts on the face and spreads to the rest of the body. Measles can be especially severe in infants and people with poor immune systems.

Six West Australians have returned from Bali with the virus.

“Anyone who thinks they are infected should call ahead and mention their possible contact with measles so they can be isolated when they arrive at the GP surgery or emergency department, to prevent infecting other patients and staff,” Dr Armstrong said.

“A person is considered immune to measles if they have previously received two doses of a measles vaccine or were born before 1966.”

https://thewest.com.au/news/wa/measles-outbreak-fears-after-perth-student-infected-ng-b88558759z
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