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Important Message from Queensland Health - Measles case on Gold Coast sparks alert

Queensland Health is urging anyone who was at Q1 on the Gold Coast on 8 April, or who attended the DHL 2011 Australian Surf Life Saving Championships at Kurrawa Beach or the McDonalds restaurant in Marine Parade, Labrador on 9 April to be on the alert for symptoms of measles.

This follows confirmation of a measles case in a person who had visited these locations on those days while infectious.

Gold Coast Public Health Medical Officer, Dr Don Staines, said the person had no history of travel and was thought to have acquired the infection somewhere on the Gold Coast last month.

“We urge anyone who was at Q1 or who attended the surf lifesaving carnival on Kurrawa Beach, or visit the McDonalds restaurant in Labrador on those days, to ensure they are protected against measles and to seek medical advice if they develop symptoms,’ Dr Staines said.

Measles is one of the most infectious of all communicable diseases, and can be acquired in public places if infectious people are present. Measles is spread by tiny droplets through coughing and sneezing. The virus can last for several hours in the environment.

The initial symptoms are fever, lethargy, runny nose, moist cough and sore and red eyes, followed a few days later by a blotchy red rash. The rash starts on the face then becomes widespread.”

Dr Staines said symptoms usually started around 10 days after infection but sometimes longer.

“Anyone who develops measles-like symptoms within the next week or two should contact their GP for advice,” he said.

“It’s very important to call the medical practice first to say you could have measles, so that staff can take precautions to avoid spreading the disease to others.”

Dr Staines said Queensland Health recommended anyone born during or since 1966, who had not had two documented doses of measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine or had proven measles, to visit their local GP for a free extra vaccination.

“Measles can be very distressing for those affected, and complications can include pneumonia or encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) and occasionally death,” he said.

“It can be a severe illness even in otherwise healthy adolescents and young adults.

Queensland Health will continue to actively investigate this case and do whatever it can to prevent further transmission.”

For more information on the measles virus, people should contact their local GP or call Queensland Health’s phone line 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84).

Download the Queensland Health media release here.

ENDS

Media contact: 3234 1439