New measles case in Victoria

Date issued: 11 September 2019 (Update to Alert issued 5 September)

Issued by: Dr Brett Sutton, Chief Health Officer, Victoria

Issued to: General practitioners and hospital emergency departments

 Key messages

  • A new confirmed measles case has been identified in an overseas traveller returning from New Zealand. New Zealand is currently experiencing a widespread outbreak of measles with over 1100 cases notified this year, including ongoing cases in Auckland and more recently, Queenstown.
  • A large outbreak of measles continues to affect Asia, Europe and America. Virtually any overseas travel could lead to exposure to measles at the current time.
  • People who are planning any overseas travel should ensure they have received vaccinations appropriate to travel, including an MMR vaccine if they do not have a documented history of two previous MMR vaccinations.
  • Be alert for measles in patients presenting with a fever at rash onset, particularly if they were overseas or visited the areas around Melbourne indicated in this Alert 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 and 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.
  • Offer free measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine to all eligible people born during or since 1966. Patients unsure of their vaccination status, or who are aged over 18 months and have only had one measles-containing vaccine, should be vaccinated.
  • Infants as young as six months of age can receive free MMR vaccine prior to travel overseas to countries where measles is endemic, or where measles outbreaks are occurring.
  • Serology is not required before vaccinating. 

Read the full alert: New measles case in Victoria