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Disease alert for Queensland as passenger lands from Bali

THE arrival of a NZ national on a flight from Bali has sparked a Measles alert.

Queensland Health says the young man was infectious when he caught the Virgin Airlines flight VA46 from Denpasar to Brisbane on July 24.

The man spent time in the Brisbane transit lounge before catching Virgin Airlines flight VA104 to Wellington, NZ later the same day.

Queensland Health acting executive director for communicable diseases Dr Heidi Carroll said fellow travellers needed to be alert for the symptoms of measles.

"The initial symptoms of measles include fever, lethargy, runny nose, moist cough and sore and red eyes," she said.

"This is followed a few days later by a blotchy, red rash which often starts on the face and then becomes widespread over the body."

Dr Carroll said the symptoms usually started around 10 days after contact with the infectious person, but was known to occur between seven and 18 days after contact.

"We would expect that anyone who has caught measles as a result of this contact would be starting to show symptoms now, or over the next few days."

Anyone who has symptoms should see a doctor immediately.

"Measles is one of the most infectious of all communicable diseases and is spread by tiny droplets through coughing and sneezing, but is actually infectious for four days before the rash appears," Dr Carroll said.

"We recommend anyone born during or since 1966, who has not had two documented doses of the Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR) vaccine and has not had proven measles, should visit their family doctor to get vaccinated.

"The vaccine is free for anyone who requires it."
 

WHAT IS MEASLES:

Measles is an acute, highly infectious illness that can affect the lungs, brain when complications occur. It can be fatal, particularly for children under five.
 

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?

Measles begins with symptoms such as fever, tiredness, cough, runny nose and/or red inflamed eyes.

These symptoms usually become more severe over three days. A "blotchy" dark-red rash begins at the hairline, before covering the body. 

The rash may last six days.
 

TREATMENT

There is no specific treatment for measles. The symptoms of measles are usually treated with rest, plenty of fluids, and paracetamol to lessen pain or fever. 

Do not use aspirin for treating fever in children.

Immunisation is considered the best way to prevent the spread of measles.
 

WANT MORE INFORMATION?

If you fear you may be infected, contact 13 Health (13 43 25 84) or your local Public Health Unit in Queensland.

Queensland Health also has a fact sheet on Measles.


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