Up to 400 people contacted amid measles outbreak

QUEENSLAND Health holds grave fears the measles outbreak which started in Moranbah last week may spread across the state.

The department announced yesterday it was contacting up to 400 people who may have been exposed to the highly contagious virus at Moranbah last week.

Some of these people have since moved throughout Queensland.

A measles outbreak was declared on Monday after a second case of the virus was discovered at the Moranbah Medical Centre.

A nurse is continuing to recover at home after catching measles from a mine worker who she treated after he contracted the infection overseas in early May.

The nurse was in contact with many patients while infectious. She went home sick before developing a rash.

Public Health physician Dr Steven Donohue said the medical centre and health department traced 18 people who had appointments with her in this time.

"A number of these have had extra doses of vaccines and or immunoglobulin," he said. "Our focus is now on contacting every person who was in the clinic from Tuesday to Thursday last week.

"Moranbah is not your typical country town, it's a hub of mobile workers, so it is quite possible someone has been exposed and has now flown or driven interstate.

"The warning is out for the whole of Queensland that in the next few weeks we could be seeing more cases as a result."

The nurse was vaccinated once for measles, but not twice, which is recommended.

"If you have had not had two doses of MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) you will be at risk of contracting measles," Dr Donohue said.

Measles is a serious viral infection that causes fever, cough, runny nose, then a red spotty rash and sore eyes a few days later.

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