Measles cases at Blacktown Hospital prompt health warning

DOCTORS have warned western Sydney residents to be vigilant after two cases of measles were diagnosed recently.

Dr Vicky Sheppeard, manager of the local public health unit, said two residents had been diagnosed with measles at Blacktown Hospital this week.

It is thought that the infection was caught by one resident during a recent overseas trip who then passed it on to the second after returning home, Dr Sheppeard said.

‘‘Measles is one of the most easily spread diseases and just being in the same room as someone with measles can result in infection,’’ she said.

The public health unit has been working with Blacktown Hospital to identify and contact people who may have been in the Emergency Department at the same time as one of the patients on April 13.

Dr Sheppeard said the initial symptoms of measles were fever, tiredness, runny-nose cough and sore, red eyes.

‘‘Symptoms usually begin around 10 days after contact with an infected person, so people need to be particularly aware of any signs of infection in themselves or their children over the coming week,’’ she said.

Dr Sheppeard said a red, blotchy rash appears three to four days after initial symptoms. Adults between 25 and 46 years old are often susceptible to measles as when they were young only one dose of vaccine was recommended.

Free vaccine from the GP is recommended for people in this age group, especially if they are planning overseas travel.