Measles Returns to Australia in 2022
Australia's NSW Health recently confirmed the first local case of measles since February 2020. This person developed symptoms after returning to Sydney and is now isolated in a hospital.
This adult acquired the infection while traveling in Asia in August 2022.
As of September 13, 2022, NSW Health says the person spent time in the following Sydney locations while infectious with the measles virus:
- St Andrew's Catholic Church Malabar for mass, Sunday 4 September.
- Tyree Energy Building, the University of NSW, on Tuesday, 6 September.
- Lounge Restaurant, the University of NSW, on Tuesday, 6 September.
- Pacific Square, Maroubra, on Wednesday, 7 September.
Dr. Jeremy McAnulty, Executive Director, Health Protection, NSW Health, said in a released press release "that these locations do not pose an ongoing risk but urged people who may be susceptible to measles and were present at the above locations on those days to be alert for symptoms until September 24, 2022."
"If you develop symptoms, please call ahead to your GP to ensure you do not wait in the waiting room with other patients."
Symptoms of measles include fever, sore eyes and a cough followed three or four days later by a red, blotchy rash spreading from the head and neck to the rest of the body.
"This incident highlights the importance of ensuring that all people able to be vaccinated have received two doses of measles vaccine, particularly before overseas travel, as measles outbreaks are occurring in several regions of the world at present," added Dr. McAnulty.
"Maintaining high rates of measles immunization within the community reduces the risk of measles being imported into Australia by returned travelers."
Previously, NSW Health reported a case of measles in a Victoria resident who visited the border region while unknowingly infectious on June 17, 2022.
Dr. McAnulty said herd immunity protects those unable to be vaccinated, such as infants and people with weakened immune systems.
"The measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine is an effective protection against measles."
"If you're unsure whether you've had two doses, it's safe to have another," Dr. McAnulty concluded.
NSW Health makes the measles vaccine free to anyone born during or after 1966 who doesn't have two documented doses of measles vaccine.
Measles is highly contagious and is spread in the air through coughing or sneezing by someone unwell with the disease.
The U.S. CDC reported 13 measles cases in the USA as of September 1, 2022.
Globally, Nigeria (14,656) and India (8,373) have confirmed the most measles cases in 2022.
The U.S. FDA has approved various measles vaccines listed on this Vax-Before-Travel webpage.
The CDC says... the best immunization decisions are made following conversations with a local healthcare provider.
Vax-Before-Travel publishes fact-checked, research-based travel vaccine news curated for international travelers.
Updated on Sept. 16th for clarity.