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Measles update – Perth

A new measles alert has been issued to people who were in several stores in Bunbury and sites in West Perth and Balga between October 8 and 10.

This follows the case of a FIFO mining industry worker who was diagnosed at a Fortescue Metals Group site in the Pilbara this week.

  • There have been 26 confirmed cases of measles in WA.
  • WA’s “highly unusual” cluster of cases have been confirmed over the past two months.
  • People are being urged to stay alert for symptoms of infection

Measles vaccination

WA’s Communicable Disease Control director Donna Mak said everyone between 20 and 53 should get a Measles-Mumps-Rubella booster vaccination as soon as possible.

The MMR vaccination is FREE if you see any GP, community health clinic or Aboriginal legal service.

How do you know if you have measles?

Measles can be difficult to diagnose early because there are many other viruses that cause similar symptoms such as a fever and a rash.

It is important to tell staff when making medical appointments that you may be infectious. You will need to wait in a separate area from others, especially young children.

Sometimes the presence of white spots inside the mouth, the timing of the fever and the rash, and the appearance of the rash can help a doctor make a diagnosis.

How is measles spread?

Measles is usually spread when a person breathes in the virus after it has been coughed or sneezed into the air by an infected person.

The time from exposure to becoming sick is usually about 10 days, with the rash normally appearing around 14 days after exposure. The first symptoms of measles are a fever, tiredness, a runny nose, a cough and sore red eyes.

The virus can have serious complications and up to one third of people infected with the measles will experience a complication. This can include ear infections, diarrhoea and pneumonia, which may require hospitalisation.

To prevent catching the infection, avoid sharing plates or utensils and wash your hands often.

While you are infectious with measles, it is important you stay at home up to four days after the rash appears to avoid infecting other people.

Measles treatment

There is no specific treatment for measles. You should rest, drink plenty of fluids, and take paracetamol for fever if required.

Measles is a notifiable disease so doctors, hospitals and laboratories must inform the Department of Health of a diagnosis. This notification is kept confidential.

More information is available on the Department of Health (DoH) webpage on measles and in this DoH fact sheet.

The measles vaccination is currently free of charge.

For all other workplace vaccinations, please contact us for more information. We provide onsite workplace vacs around Perth and WA.