Measles case at Blacktown Hospital prompts vaccination warning

A person with measles is currently in isolation at Blacktown Hospital. Picture: Geoff Jones
A person with measles is currently in isolation at Blacktown Hospital. Picture: Geoff Jones

A person with measles at Blacktown Hospital was likely infectious while on two commercial flights.

The unidentified person, who is now in an isolation ward, presented to the hospital’s emergency department at 10pm on Sunday, December 10.

They remained in the public area until 3.30am on Monday, December 11.

Western Sydney Local Health District said it was “highly likely” the patient was infectious while travelling on two commercial flights from Delhi to Bangkok and then Bangkok to Sydney from December 9-10 (see below).

A child sick with measles in Newcastle, 2002. The rash typically starts on the head and neck before spreading across the body.

A child sick with measles in Newcastle, 2002. The rash typically starts on the head and neck before spreading across the body.

Western Sydney Public Health Unit director Shopna Bag said contact was being made with people who may have been directly exposed to the virus.

She encouraged people to look out for symptoms including fever, sore eyes and a cough, followed three or four days later be a red, blotchy rash.

“Look out for symptoms over the next seven to 18 days. If you have these symptoms you should visit your doctor as soon as possible,” Dr Bag said.

“Please call your doctor before visiting the surgery so that arrangements can be made to minimise the risk of spreading the infection to others.

“Stay home from work or school to avoid exposing other people, such as infants, to the infection.”

Dr Bag said measles is highly contagious and can be spread by coughing or sneezing

The free measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine is the best protection against the disease. Two doses are required for lifelong protection and it is safe to have it again if people are unsure.

“Older infants, children and adults born after 1965, who have not had two doses of the MMR vaccine or evidence of previous infection with measles, are particularly susceptible to measles and we encourage them to get vaccinated,” Dr Bag said.

Measles is common in some countries. People planning to travel overseas are advised to discuss with their GP whether they need the MMR vaccine, or other vaccines, prior to travelling.

For more information about measles, see the NSW Health website.

The Blacktown Hospital patient with measles was a Thai Airlines passenger departing from Delhi to Sydney on the following flights:

  • Delhi to Bangkok (TG324) departing Indira Gandhi International Airport, Delhi at 11.10am and arriving at Suvarnabhumi International Airport, Bangkok at 4.40pm on Saturday December 9
  • Bangkok to Sydney (TG475) departing Suvarnabhumi International Airport at 5.50pm on Saturday December 9 and arriving at Sydney International Airport at 7.10am on Sunday December 10

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