23 January 2019

Measles advisory South Perth, Rockingham and Air Asia flight

Western Australians are being asked to be alert to the risk of measles following a confirmed measles illness in a person who returned to Perth on 16 January 2019 from Vietnam on an Air Asia flight, and visited work places and public venues last week.

Children and adults who have been inadvertently exposed are at risk of developing measles if they are not already immune. Individuals should remain vigilant for the onset of measles symptoms from 22 January until 6 February 2019 if they are not immune to measles and attended any of the following:

On AirAsia:

  • Tuesday 15 January 2019 AK513 from Hanoi departing 2.50pm – arriving 7.05pm Kuala Lumpur
  • Wednesday 16 January 2019 D7 236 from Kuala Lumpur departing 12.05am – arriving Perth 5.35am

On Transperth buses (31, 34 and Green Cat) and Mandurah train

  • Wednesday 16 January to Friday 18 January 2019 mornings and late afternoons/evenings bus 31 and bus 34 between South Perth and Elizabeth Quay
  • Friday 18 January 2019 morning and late afternoon Green Cat buses between Perth CBD and West Perth
  • Friday 18 January 2019 6.30pm to 8pm trains between Perth and Mandurah

In Perth:

  • Wednesday 16 January and Thursday 17 January 2019 between 8.30am and 8pm, foyer and lifts of Tower 2, Brookfield Place, 123 St Georges Tce

In South Perth:

  • Evening of Wednesday 16 January 2019, Subway, Canning Hwy
  • Thursday 17 January 2019 7pm to 8.30pm, Coles, Angelo St

In West Perth:

  • Friday 18 January 2019 between 8am and 5.30pm, foyer and lifts of 9 Havelock St

In the Rockingham/Mandurah area:

Saturday 19 January 2019

  • Morning, Karnup Chemist Warehouse and Lakelands Shopping Centre
  • Evening, pharmacy next to Rockingham Medical Centre

There is no risk of acquiring measles from visiting one of these venues outside of these times. It is generally considered safe for non-immune individuals to enter a room 30 minutes after a measles case has left the area.

Public health staff have provided information to people who were exposed to the most recent case where they were known, but it was not possible to identify and specifically warn people who were in public places.

Senior Medical Advisor in Communicable Diseases, Professor Donna Mak said “Vaccination is the most effective way to protect yourself against measles.” People born during or after 1966 are requested to check that they have had two documented doses of a measles vaccine at some stage in their life, especially if they plan to travel overseas.  If they are not sure if they have had two doses of measles vaccine, they should see their doctor for a vaccination before going abroad. Persons born prior to 1966 are usually immune to measles because they had the illness as a child. Parents are urged to make sure their children receive their measles vaccinations on schedule. Measles vaccine is currently given to children at 12 and 18 months of age.

With high vaccination coverage, naturally occurring measles has been eliminated from WA for around 20 years, but occasional cases and small outbreaks occur, usually sparked by residents or visitors who were infected overseas.

“Measles is a serious and highly contagious viral illness spread by tiny droplets released when infected people cough and sneeze. Every measles case is treated as a public health emergency because of the risk of local spread – including to those most vulnerable to infection, such as infants too young to be vaccinated, those with compromised immune systems and pregnant women who are not already immune through vaccination or previous infection,” Professor Mak said.  

People with measles typically develop symptoms approximately 10 days after being exposed to the virus, but this can vary from seven to 18 days. Early symptoms include fever, cough, runny nose and sore eyes, followed by a red blotchy rash three or four days later. The rash usually starts on the face and spreads to the rest of the body.   

“Anyone who has had a potential exposure to measles, and who develops a fever with these other symptoms should see a doctor. It is important to call ahead of travelling to a clinic or Emergency Department so that they can be isolated from infecting other patients and staff when they arrive,” she said.

Complications following measles can be serious and include ear infections and pneumonia in about 10 per cent of cases. Around 30 per cent of cases require a hospital admission and about one person in every 1,000 will develop encephalitis, inflammation of the brain.

People who are concerned they may have measles and require medical advice after hours can contact Healthdirect on 1800 022 222.

To learn more about measles, visit the HealthyWA website (external site)


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