Tourist cleared of measles virus

Whitsunday Times - - LOCAL NEWS -

A MAN has been cleared of the measles virus af­ter an in­ves­ti­ga­tion by the Public Health Unit but peo­ple are still ad­vised to be vig­i­lant.

The health unit this week in­ves­ti­gated two pos­si­ble new measles cases in the Mackay Hos­pi­tal and Health Ser­vice area.

On Fri­day a measles alert was is­sued af­ter it was sus­pected that a guest at a pre-wed­ding party and wed­ding in the Whit­sun­days was in­fected.

One per­son was con­se­quently tested by the health unit but came up neg­a­tive and tests were not or­dered on the sec­ond per­son.

Public Health Physi­cian Doc­tor Steven Dono­hue said that, as a pre­cau­tion­ary mea­sure, more than 100 peo­ple were con­tacted to in­form them they may have been ex­posed to measles.

“A sig­nif­i­cant amount of MMR vac­cine was flown into Mackay on Fri­day night and dis­trib­uted to af­ter­hours med­i­cal clin­ics as well as Proser­pine Hos­pi­tal,” he said.

“All GP clin­ics were also vis­ited by public health staff on Fri­day and ad- vised of the sit­u­a­tion and given posters to dis­play. This is also be­ing done at all pathol­ogy labs in the Mackay-Whit­sun­day area.”

Fears were held for peo­ple at­tend­ing a wed­ding at the Cape Glouces­ter Beach Resort Hy­de­away Bay on Fri­day and guests at La Ta­bella Trat­to­ria, at Air­lie Beach on Sun­day.

While no out­break was de­tected, Dr Dono­hue warned it was pos­si­ble cases could de­velop as peo­ple can be­come symp­to­matic for 18 to 21 days af­ter ex­po­sure.

“This means for the first case we could ex­pect to see cases up un­til Septem­ber 11,” he said.

“How­ever if there are other cases the date will be later.

Any­one who has symp­toms of measles should tele­phone their GP im­me­di­ately and ad­vise if they think they may have measles. This en­sures pro­cesses are in place to pro­tect other pa­tients from ex­po­sure.

Measles is a highly in­fec­tious and se­ri­ous vi­ral in­fec­tion that causes fever, cough, runny nose, sore eyes and then a red spotty rash a few days later. It is of­ten a se­vere dis­ease and oc­ca­sion­ally has dan­ger­ous com­pli­ca­tions.

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

Queens­land Health rec­om­mends any­one born dur­ing or since 1966, who has not had two doc­u­mented doses of measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vac­cine or had proven measles, should visit their lo­cal GP to get vac­ci­nated for measles. The vac­cine is free for any­one who required it.

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