Department of Health and Human Services

Measles alert for doctors - February 2001

Issued: 7 February 2001

There is an outbreak of measles in Melbourne. The majority of cases have occurred in the 18 to 30 year age group, which is an age group particularly susceptible to measles infection due to low immunisation coverage during their childhood. Many of the cases have been hospitalised.

Case Definition:

The public health definition for suspected measles is an illness characterised by:

What can you do?

  1. Think measles in patients who present with a febrile rash illness.

  2. Notify any patient that you suspect could have measles immediately to the Department of Human Services on telephone 1300 651 160 or facsimile 1300 651 170.

  3. Take blood to confirm the diagnosis with serology. Measles specific IgM antibodies usually occur 3-4 days after rash onset.

  4. Minimise transmission in your surgery by:

5. Treat susceptible contacts of a measles patient with:

6. Vaccinate any susceptible staff aged under 30 years.

7. Review the vaccination status of all children and young adults (under 30 years of age) attending your practice for any reason, and vaccinate with MMR if required. Children under 18 years of age should have two documented doses normally given at 12 months and 4 years of age. All persons between 18 years and 30 years of age should have documentation (a personal immunisation record) of at least one dose of a measles containing vaccine. Women should be asked about their last menstrual period to ensure that they are not pregnant and advised that they should not become pregnant for two months following receipt of the vaccine.

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