Melburnians are being warned to watch out for a new highly contagious disease believed to have entered the community after a person returned to the city from India.
Victoria’s Department of Health said a new case of measles had been diagnosed in a 41-year-old who was contagious when he arrived at Melbourne Airport on December 12, making the case the sixth measles infection in Victoria since the beginning of the year act.
One of the 13 exposure sites includes the arrivals gate at Melbourne Airport, while six are located in Moonee Ponds, a suburb in Melbourne’s inner north.
Measles, which has been largely eradicated in Australia due to high vaccination rates, is a highly contagious viral disease that spreads quickly with close contact.
Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton urged people to see a doctor if they develop symptoms such as a runny nose, red eyes and cough, followed by a fever and rash.
“People can develop pneumonia and other serious complications from measles, and children in particular may need to be hospitalized,” Professor Sutton said.
He specifically urged people to get tested and, if necessary, isolate if they developed symptoms after returning from abroad, and said travelers should receive an MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine if they are in had not received two MMR vaccines in the past.
The list of exposure locations includes Melbourne Airport International Arrivals, Woolworths and Aldi at Moonee Ponds, Moonee Ponds Central Shopping Centre, buses and trains on the Craigieburn Line.
A full list of exposure locations and times can be found here.
On Tuesday, Australia’s Chief Health Officer Paul Kelly urged Australians to ensure they are adequately vaccinated against polio and measles, saying vaccination rates for those diseases are increasing in popular Australian tourist hotspots, including Indonesia, India, Vietnam, Thailand and the Philippines, had sunk.
Outbreaks of measles have occurred in Europe, the UK, and North and South America in recent years.
Originally posted as New cases of measles detected in Melbourne days before Christmas