Measles alert for Far Northern communities around Cairns

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Tropical Public Health Services Cairns is responding to a second case of confirmed measles in the Cairns area within three weeks.

A second case of measles was confirmed in Cairns on Friday 18 October.

“Measles is a highly infectious and serious viral infection," said Dr Richard Gair, Director Tropical Public Health Services Cairns.

“It is spread by tiny droplets in the air or by contact with infected secretions from the nose or mouth.”

The measles patient was unknowingly infectious while on the Sunbus: Smithfield to Cairns / Cairns to Smithfield - Friday 11 October, Saturday 12 October and Sunday 13 October.

Members of the public, especially those who travelled this route, need to be alert for signs and symptoms of measles over the next three weeks.

People who visited Skydive Cairns at Portsmith may also have a small risk of being exposed to the virus.

The Cairns and Hinterland hospital and Health Service confirmed to Newsport yesterday that there had been no presentations of patients with measles symptoms at Mossman Hospital to date. 

Tropical Public Health Services is encouraging people in Far North Queensland to get vaccinated against the disease.

Anyone born after 1965, who has not had two documented doses of measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine or had proven measles, is encouraged to visit their local family doctor to get vaccinated for measles.

The vaccine is free. If you are vaccinated within a few days of exposure, this can prevent the development of the disease, otherwise vaccination now will not prevent infection from this particular exposure, but it will help protect against measles in the future.

If you are unwell, is very important to call the medical practice first if you think you might have measles. Staff can then take precautions to avoid spreading it to others.

The symptoms usually start around 10 days after exposure to the virus but can occur between 7 and 18 days after contact.

Symptoms include:

  • fever
  • lethargy
  • runny nose
  • moist cough
  • sore red eyes
  • followed a few days later by a blotchy, red rash which often starts on the face and then becomes widespread over the body.


For more information about the measles virus call 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84) or visit
http://conditions.health.qld.gov.au/HealthCondition/condition/14/217/91/Measles


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