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Measles alert for South West Sydney region

The South Western Sydney Local Health District (SWSLHD) is urging people to stay on alert for symptoms of measles after a man was diagnosed with the infection after returning from overseas.

 While infectious, the unvaccinated man visited Carnes Hill Shopping Centre – ANZ bank, Woolworths, between 9.30am and 10.30am on Wednesday, 21 August, 21.

The following day, Thursday, August, 22, he visited          Lurnea Mediadvice Pharmacy, Lurnea, between 8.30am and 9.15am.

SWSLHD public health unit director, Dr Naru Pal, said people who were at the above locations at the same time should look out for symptoms of measles until September 10.

Dr Pal said none of the above locations visited by this person pose an ongoing risk.

“The time from exposure to onset of symptoms can be as long as 18 days,’’ he said.

“Symptoms to watch out for include fever, sore eyes and a cough followed three or four days later by a red, blotchy rash that spreads from the head to the rest of the body.”

 Measles is highly contagious and is spread in the air through coughing or sneezing by someone who is unwell with the disease.

 Children and adults who have been inadvertently exposed are at risk of developing measles if they are not already immune.

 “Anyone with symptoms should call ahead to their GP so they do not wait in the doctor’s waiting room with other patients,” Dr Pal said.

The SWSLHD public health unit is following up with anyone who may have been in contact with the person and offering information and preventive treatment, if needed.

The measles-mumps-rubella vaccine is safe and highly effective protection against measles. 

 NSW Health provides free measles vaccines for anyone born during or after 1966 who hasn’t had two doses. If you are unsure whether you have had two, it is quite safe to have another.

Protecting children from potentially deadly diseases is a key priority for the NSW Government, which has invested approximately $130 million in the 2019-20 Immunisation Program budget, including Commonwealth and state vaccines. 

 Anyone planning a trip overseas should seek medical advice at least two weeks before departure on the vaccinations required to protect them against the risk of disease.

 If you are concerned you may be at risk, contact SWSLHD public health unit on 1300 066 055.

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