Measles in Tasmania

Tasmania’s Public Health Services is alerting the public to a case of recently diagnosed measles in Tasmania.

The case was infectious during one international and one domestic flight and at a North West GP clinic late last week.

A 25-year-old woman returned from the Philippines and was infectious aboard CEBU Pacific flight 5J49 which departed Manila and arrived in Melbourne at 3.30pm on Thursday 2 May.

The woman then travelled to Tasmania aboard Qantas flight QF2051 from Melbourne to Devonport on Friday 3 May.

She then presented to the Victoria St Clinic in Ulverstone on Saturday 4 May.

Public Health Services is working with the medical centre to contact other patients who were at the practice at the time to arrange preventative treatment as required. Preventative injections can be given to highly-susceptible people up to six days after exposure.

The following people should contact their GP immediately to ensure they have immunity to measles:

  • Anyone who was at the clinic on the morning of 4 May and has not already been contacted by Public Health Services.
  • Anyone who was aboard either of the two flights on 2 and 3 May.
  • Anyone who was at the Devonport Airport between 9.15am to 10.15am on 3 May.

People are considered immune after two doses of measles-containing vaccine, or were born before 1966, or have documented evidence of measles infection.

The woman did not enter other public areas after arriving in Tasmania before seeking medical attention. She is recovering in the North West Regional Hospital.

This is the first case of measles reported in Tasmania this year. The number of cases reported in other states remains high.

Outbreaks of measles in popular tourist destinations, particularly the Philippines, means the risk of measles being imported into Australia remains high.

Anyone planning to travel overseas should check their immunisation status, and ensure they have received two doses of measles vaccine. The measles-mumps-rubella vaccine, also known as MMR,  is safe and effective protection against measles. It is free for anyone up to the age of 20 and also available on prescription from a GP. It is safe to have another dose if people are unsure if they are fully immunised with two doses.

Measles symptoms include fever, sore eyes and cough followed three or four days later by a red, blotchy rash spreading from the head and neck to the rest of the body. If people think they have measles symptoms they should call ahead to the health care service they are going to visit so the risk to other patients can be minimised.

Measles is a serious and highly contagious disease spread through the air through coughing or sneezing by someone who has the disease. For more information on measles visit: www.dhhs.tas.gov.au/publichealth/communicable_diseases_prevention_unit/infectious_diseases/measles