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Seeing spots? Measles outbreak continues to spread!

15th July 2016 02:41pm

Since confirmed cases of measles were first reported in Melbourne’s north-west in February this year, the highly contagious disease continues to spread.  Most at risk are children, or adults born during or since 1966 who do not have documented evidence of receiving two doses of a measles-containing vaccine, or do not have documented evidence of immunity.  People who are immunocompromised are also at risk.  


A simple pathology test can confirm your immunity. St John of God can do this for you and are also located in the GP Super Clinic.


Measles is a virus that lives in the nose and throat mucus of an infected person and is transmitted through coughing or sneezing. The virus can live in the air for up to two hours and incubation of the disease can take up to 18 days after infection.


Symptoms include fever, cough, sore eyes and sore throat; very similar to symptoms of the common cold. A rash will usually develop within 3-7 days of the first symptoms appearing.


The incidence of measles in Australia has become relatively uncommon due to a robust vaccination policy. It is strongly advised to vaccinate young children, who are most at risk from the disease and other complications, such as developing pneumonia.


The symptoms of measles closely resemble those of the common cold, which is particularly concerning at this time of year, because the disease can go undetected in the early stages. It is highly recommended that you check with your doctor if you have any of these symptoms


When presenting to a medical practice, please remember to advise the reception staff that you or your family member/s have measles-type symptoms.  This will help to avoid further spread of the infection.  


Anyone developing the tell-tale rash should call ahead to their doctor and tell them you have a fever and rash, as isolation and/or hospitalisation might be required and this helps to avoid further spread of the infection.  


The measles vaccine is recommended for children 12 months to four years of age. It can be given in combination with other vaccines. Women who are planning pregnancy can obtain free combined measles, mumps and rubella vaccine under the Victorian government initiative protecting women of child-bearing age against rubella. People under 20 years of age are entitled to the vaccine under the Australian government catch-up campaign. 


If you have any concerns, you can visit the Dianella GP Super Clinic at 42 Coleraine Street, Broadmeadows for information or care. St John of God can conduct the pathology tests and is also located at the centre.


The clinic is open Monday to Friday, 8am-6pm. Call 8301 8888 or make an online appointment at www.dianellagpsuperclinic.org.au.