Health warning as measles confirmed on Coast
A SUNSHINE Coast resident has been struck down with the rare measles infection, sparking a warning from health authorities.
Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service has confirmed a local resident has contracted measles.
Public health physician Dr Andrew Langley said the person acquired the measles infection in South East Asia where it was most common.
People who are known to have been in close proximity to the person have been contacted and provided with public health advice.
"Anyone born during or since 1966 who has not had a proven measles infection should make sure they have had two measles vaccinations over their life," Dr Langley said.
"It is especially important to check your vaccinations if planning overseas travel."
He said up to two doses of the vaccine, which also provided protection against mumps and German measles, were provided free and were available from GPs.
"Measles is one of the most infectious of all communicable diseases and is spread by tiny droplets through coughing and sneezing.
"Although we have eliminated measles in Australia, new cases in Australia occur in travellers returning to or visiting Australia.
"Further cases can then occur here in unvaccinated people including those too young or sick to be vaccinated."
Queensland Health statistics show very few cases of measles are found on the Sunshine Coast.
"This case is a timely reminder that measles is common in South East Asia," Dr Langley said.
"There have also been outbreaks in some parts of Europe and Africa in the past two years.
"People born before 1966 are usually immune from infections such as measles that were common then.
"Symptoms of measles usually start approximately 10 days after being around an infectious person, but can occur between seven and 18 days after exposure."
Anyone who develops measles-like symptoms should stay home and contact their doctor for advice.
"The initial symptoms of measles include fever, lethargy, runny nose, moist cough and sore and red eyes," Dr Langley said.
"This is often but not always followed a few days later by a blotchy, red rash.
"The rash often starts on the face then becomes widespread over the body.
"If you seek treatment, it is important to call ahead to advice the medical practice you could have measles.
"This way staff can take precautions to avoid spreading the disease further to others."