NSW Health issues measles warning for Western Sydney

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Health authorities are warning measles could be in the Western Sydney community.

People need to be vigilant for fever, sore eyes, a runny nose and a cough followed three or four days later by a red, blotchy rash which spreads from the head to the rest of the body, NSW Health says.

The health agency issued the alert warning early Sunday.

A woman who contracted measles after coming in contact with an infant with the highly-infectious disease sparked the alert.

An NSW Health executive says anyone at the following locations could have been exposed and should be alert for symptoms until April 16: Baby Bunting, Blacktown Megacentre on March 24 between 3.00pm and 4.00pm, and Kmart Blacktown on March 24 between 4.00pm and 5.00pm.

People at Winston Hills Mall on March 28 between 12.00pm and 2.30pm and Westmead Hospital Emergency Department on March 29 between 2.00pm and 10.30pm also could have been exposed.

Western Sydney Local Health District acting director of public health, Conrad Moreira, said there was no ongoing risk to the public, but it was important those who attended the locations to look out for symptoms.

“Measles is highly infectious and anyone born during or after 1966 needs to make sure they have received two doses of measles vaccine to be properly protected,” Dr Moreira said.

Anyone born during or after 1966 without documentation of two jabs can get a free vaccine.

Measles outbreaks were occurring in several places overseas, and Dr Moreira cautioned travellers should check they were vaccinated.

The United States has smashed 2023’s measles total already in March, and the Philippines and Malaysia are experiencing ongoing outbreaks.

Measles is one of the most infectious diseases on earth, the World Health Organisation says, spreading easily when an infected person breathes, coughs or sneezes.

A single person infected with measles can potentially infect 12 to 18 additional people, and the disease can lead to severe complications and death. However, it is almost entirely preventable through two doses of measles vaccine. From 2000 to 2022, measles vaccinations prevented 57 million measles deaths worldwide.

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