The Department of Health and Human Services is asking the health and human services sector to watch for signs and symptoms of measles.

Three cases of measles were diagnosed in Victoria since the beginning of the year. Fifty-seven cases were diagnosed in Victoria during 2019. Almost all cases were in people who were not fully immunised against measles, who had either travelled overseas or been in contact with travellers from overseas in Victoria.

There are ongoing outbreaks of measles in South East Asia, the Pacific Islands and Europe.

There is an ongoing risk of infection in people travelling overseas, visitors, and migrant workers from outbreak affected areas.

The following groups are at risk of measles:

  • Anyone planning overseas travel. Individuals planning overseas travel should ensure they have received vaccinations appropriate to that travel.
  • Any person born during or since 1966 and who does not have documented evidence of receiving two doses of a measles-containing vaccine or does not have documented evidence of immunity.
  • Unvaccinated infants. Infants are at particularly high risk of contracting measles. Infants as young as six months of age can receive MMR vaccine prior to travel overseas to countries where measles is endemic, or where measles outbreaks are occurring. The first dose of MMR vaccine is usually given at 12 months of age as part of the National Immunisation Program Schedule (NIP). If an infant receives an early dose of MMR vaccine (e.g. at 8 months) prior to travelling overseas, they are still required to receive their routine 12 month and 18 months doses in line with the NIP schedule. MMR vaccine is now free for infants aged 6 to 12 months travelling to measles-affected areas.

GPs and Emergency departments should be on alert for measles. Be alert for measles infection – ensure all staff, especially triage nurses, have a high index of suspicion for measles in anyone who has had possible exposure to measles and who presents with upper respiratory like symptoms 

Resources

Contacts

Notify the Communicable Disease Prevention and Control Section at the Department of Health and Human Services on 1300 651 160 of suspected cases immediately.