Advice For Travellers.
Advice For Travellers.
There are outbreaks of measles every year in Australia and most of these cases are caught from overseas.
Measles is endemic in many countries including The Philippines & Vietnam. Recent years have seen outbreaks in Brisbane after returning from countries like Bali, Thailand and The Philippines. There are up to 200 cases a year of sporadic Measles Australia-wide. The disease is also very widespread in North, Central & South America, and the Caribbean. Most Measles in Europe is “home grown” with only 1-2% of cases being imported from overseas.
The infection is highly contagious and Queensland public health will go into overdrive. This always hits the headlines. The publicity serves a useful function. People need to know if they might have been exposed to the virus. Dates and times of public journeys or visits are made available so that potential contagion may be disrupted.
There have been recent outbreaks in The UK, Europe, The US and New Zealand.
Please ensure that you let us know if you think you may have measles before attending the clinic. Medical Centres & Emergency Departments take set well-established precautions for good reason. One outbreak of measles in NSW in 2012 resulted in 16 cases of transmission of measles directly as a result of attendance at healthcare facilities.
Measles immunisation is in the form of MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella).
The first dose of MMR was introduced in 1966 and the booster dose introduced in 1992.
The Australian immunisation handbook was updated in 2019 to reflect that every adult born after 1966 is advised to have had two doses of measles vaccine.
Almost everyone born prior to 1966 have been exposed to wild measles and therefore do not need immunisation. Yes, you read that correctly! Measles is so contagious that anyone brought up before the Measles Vaccine was available almost certainly has had Measles!
The elephant in the room is simply this – how do you know that you have had two MMR Vaccines? The Australian immunisation register (AIR) went live in 1996. You can access this through MyGov. Immunisations prior to 1996 may not be recorded on The AIR. Dig out your childhoold immunisation record or contact your old practice for details. If all has failed, you can get a blood test to check for immunity or decide to have a further dose of MMR. There is no known risk from having additional MMR Vaccines when you have already had two doses.
Let’s summarise your options.
People born after 1966 who have never had an MMR Vaccine may consider:
People born after 1966 who have had only one MMR Vaccine may also consider a booster dose, or a blood test to check for immunity.
Strongly Consider Measles Vaccine if there’s a “yes” to any of the following:
Pregnant women routinely have a measles immunity check at the first blood test.