CHO Health Alert: New measles cases (update to 1 Aug 2019)

06 August, 2019

Status: Active
Date issued: 5 August 2019
Issued by: Dr Brett Sutton, Chief Health Officer, Victoria
Issued to: General practitioners and hospital emergency departments

Key messages

  • Four confirmed measles cases have been identified in Victorian residents who have returned from overseas travel. Three cases were infectious while attending public places. 
  • Be alert for measles in patients presenting with a fever at rash onset, particularly if they visited the areas indicated in the 7-18 days prior to onset of illness.
  • Isolate suspected cases to minimise the risk of transmission within your practice or emergency department.
  • Notify the Communicable Disease Prevention and Control Section at the Department of Health and Human Services on 1300 651 160 of suspected cases immediately.
  • Take blood for measles serology in all suspected cases.
  • Discuss whether to take nose and throat swabs for PCR with the department if your suspicion for measles is high. Approval is required prior to PCR testing at the reference laboratory. PCR testing for measles does not attract a Medicare rebate.
  • Free measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine is now available from GPs and some pharmacies for all eligible people born during or since 1966. Patients unsure of their vaccination status or are aged over 18 months and have only had one vaccine, should be vaccinated.
  • Infants as young as 6 months of age can receive free MMR vaccineprior to travel overseas to countries where measles is endemic, or where measles outbreaks are occurring.
  • Serology is not required before vaccinating.
  • There are a large number of ongoing international measles outbreaks in Asia, Europe and America. People who are planning overseas travel should ensure they have received vaccinations appropriate to travel, including an MMR vaccine if they do not have a history of two previous MMR vaccinations.  

Read the full alert: New measles cases in Victoria

Authorised by the Victorian Government, 1 Treasury Place, Melbourne