Preventing measles in our community
The Metro North Public Health Unit has received several notifications for measles in 2019. Due to a large number of people potentially exposed, there may be further cases in Brisbane.
Immunisation is the best protection against measles. The Metro North Public Health Unit has developed a poster to promote the MMR vaccine and are asking medical practices to display it in their waiting rooms.
Due to ongoing measles transmission overseas, it is particularly important for travellers who are not immune or unsure to get vaccinated before leaving Australia.
Criteria for immunity to Measles:
People are generally considered immune to measles if any of the following apply:
- born before 1 January 1966
- two documented doses of MMR vaccine
- serological evidence of immunity to measles
- history of laboratory-confirmed measles disease (documented evidence is important).
Adults born during or since 1966 who have not received two doses of MMR vaccine or have had laboratory-confirmed measles disease are eligible for funded vaccine.
When a patient with suspected measles attends a medical facility, contacts (other patients/staff at the facility) are at risk of acquiring the infection. The following recommendations will minimise the risk of transmission within facilities:
- triage patients with fever and rash to a room that can be left vacant for 30 minutes after consultation
- ensure the patient is wearing a surgical mask while in the facility, particularly if they need to walk through shared or public area
- ensure practice staff in contact with the suspected case have documented evidence of immunity to measles (as defined above).
The following guidelines are for the management of measles:
- check that the symptoms satisfy all of the clinical criteria:
- generalised maculopapular rash (which usually begins on the face, before spreading to the rest of the body)
- fever of at least 38 degrees still present at the time of rash onset
- cough or coryza or conjunctivitis or Koplik’s spots.
- notify the public health unit immediately of any case satisfying the clinical criteria
- measles PCR of a naso-pharyngeal swab (in viral transport medium – not gel) and urine are appropriate in early illness.