Tasmanians are reminded to ensure they are properly immunised against measles, especially before travelling overseas.
A 26-year-old Victorian woman was hospitalised with the highly infectious disease in Burnie last month, after flying home from overseas and travelling on the Spirit of Tasmania ferry.
No secondary cases associated with this have been detected in Tasmania.
Measles is still common in many other countries and most people catch the infection overseas or from someone who has recently returned.
People who are planning overseas travel and may be at risk of getting measles – mostly young adults who have not had the measles vaccine – should discuss vaccination with their GP.
You can only catch measles if you are not immune, and you have been in direct contact with someone who has it.
Who is not immune?
- People born after 1966 who have not had two doses of MMR vaccine
- Babies under 12 months old because they are too young to have been vaccinated.
If you do not have a record of two doses of measles vaccine, please speak with your GP about vaccination.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms of measles usually start in a susceptible person about 7-12 days after contact with an infected person.
Measles usually begins with symptoms such as a runny nose, a cough, sore red eyes and a fever. After a few days a red blotchy rash appears - generally starting on the face and then spreading to the rest of the body. It can be serious, especially in infants and those with impaired immune systems.
Anyone developing these symptoms should have their illness assessed by a doctor or hospital emergency department. Please contact your GP or hospital beforehand to let them know that you think you may have measles. Keep away from other people as much as you can to reduce the possibility of spreading measles to others.
People with measles are usually infectious from a day or so before symptoms begin until four days after the rash appears.
Want more information?
Letter to Spirit of Tasmania passengers and crew (16 April 2011)
Media release (17 April)
GP faxstream (18 April)
Speak to your GP or call the Public Health hotline on 1800 671 738.
Last updated: 16 May 2011