Measles - May 2003
Issued 2 May 2003
There have been four confirmed cases of measles in Melbourne in the last seventeen days. Three of the cases have occurred in the 18 to 35 year age group, which is an age group particularly susceptible to measles infection due to low immunisation coverage during their childhood. All four cases presented to hospital Accident and Emergency departments as well as to their general practionner. Three of the cases have been hospitalised.
There is also an ongoing outbreak of measles in the Bendigo area.
Criteria for notification
Measles is an illness characterised by:
What can you do?
Think measles in patients who present with a febrile rash illness.
Notify any patient that you suspect could have measles immediately to the Communicable Diseases Section, Department of Human Services, on telephone 1300 651 160 or facsimile 1300 651 170.
Take blood - serological confirmation is important.
Minimise transmission in your surgery by:
- Examining patients suspected of having measles in their homes, if possible.
- If this is not possible, avoid keeping the patient in your waiting room and take them directly to a consulting room.
(That room should not be used for another patient for at least two hours after the consultation.).
- If the person with suspected measles has contact with other people who have attended the rooms at the same time or within two hours after the visit, these people may be at risk of infection and should be treated as contacts.
Treat susceptible contacts of a measles patient with:
- MMR if within 72 hours of first contact with the patient or Immunoglobulin if longer than 72 hours but less than 7 days from contact. For advice concerning contact treatment, call the Communicable Diseases Section on 1300 651160.
- Vaccinate any susceptible staff aged under 35 years.
Review the vaccination status of:
- All children and young adults (under 35 years of age) attending your practice for any reason, and vaccinate with MMR if required. MMR vaccine is still free for this age group.
- 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 35 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.