Measles out­break warn­ing

Pilbara News - - News - Tom Zaun­mayr

City of Kar­ratha res­i­dents are be­ing urged to be on alert for symp­toms of measles fol­low­ing a con­firmed di­ag­no­sis in a per­son who con­tracted the in­fec­tion while in Bali.

WA Coun­try Health Ser­vices has warned the in­di­vid­ual has vis­ited Kar­ratha, Roe­bourne and Wick­ham while in­fec­tious, po­ten­tially ex­pos­ing peo­ple to measles.

The per­son vis­ited the Kar­ratha City Shop­ping Cen­tre, KFC and Wick­ham Wool­worths be­tween 11.30am and 1pm on Sun­day, March 12.

They have also been con­firmed to have vis­ited the Roe­bourne Hospi­tal all morn­ing on March 6 and Wick­ham Med­i­cal Cen­tre at 1.30pm on March 9 and at 11am on March 10.

They vis­ited Nickol Bay Hospi­tal on the evening of March 9 and from 1pm March 10 to 11.30am on March 12

WA Coun­try Health Ser­vice Pil­bara pub­lic health physi­cian Heather Lyt­tle said pub­lic health staff had been con­tact­ing po­ten­tially ex­posed in­di­vid­u­als di­rectly, where they were known.

“This in­cludes pa­tients and staff in the wait­ing ar­eas and vicin­ity of the vis­ited health ser­vices,” she said.

“It is not pos­si­ble to iden­tify and specif­i­cally warn peo­ple who were in the pub­lic places such as the shop­ping cen­tre, so we are en­cour­ag­ing peo­ple who were at these places at the spec­i­fied times to be alert to the in­creased risk.

“Chil­dren and adults who have been un­wit­tingly ex­posed are at risk of de­vel­op­ing measles if they are not im­mune. Peo­ple born be­fore 1966 or those who have pre­vi­ously re­ceived two doses of a measles vac­cine are con­sid­ered im­mune.”

Measles is a se­ri­ous and highly con­ta­gious vi­ral ill­ness spread by tiny droplets re­leased when in­fected peo­ple cough and sneeze.

Early symp­toms in­clude fever, cough, runny nose and sore eyes, fol­lowed by a red blotchy rash about three days later which usu­ally starts on the face and spreads to the rest of the body. Peo­ple are con­ta­gious for about four days be­fore and four days after the devel­op­ment of the rash.

Measles in­fec­tions can be es­pe­cially se­vere in in­fants and peo­ple with poor im­mune sys­tems.

Dr Lyt­tle said in­di­vid­u­als who de­vel­oped a fever with any of the other symp­toms, within two to three weeks of po­ten­tial ex­po­sure to some­one with measles, should stay at home and con­sult their doc­tor.

“Any­one who thinks they are in­fected should call the GP surgery or emer­gency depart­ment prior to at­tend­ing and men­tion their pos­si­ble con­tact with measles so they can be iso­lated when they ar­rive,” she said.

Nat­u­rally oc­cur­ring measles has been elim­i­nated in WA for about 20 years, but oc­ca­sional cases and small out­breaks oc­cur when tourists or WA res­i­dents are in­fected over­seas.

Com­pli­ca­tions fol­low­ing measles can be se­ri­ous and in­clude ear in­fec­tions and pneu­mo­nia in about 10 per cent of cases. Around 40 per cent of cases re­quire hos­pi­tal­i­sa­tion.

Pic­ture: Me­gan Pow­ell

Me­gan Hutchins im­mu­nises Mick Kelly with the measles/mumps/rubella vac­cine.

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