Australians planning an overseas escape are being urged to ensure their vaccinations are up-to-date after two recent cases of measles in travellers returning from Bali.
NSW Health is urging travellers to ensure they are fully protected against measles before heading overseas, as the disease is highly infectious.
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Measles is rare in Australia as vaccination is effective in preventing it, however, the viral disease remains common in many parts of the world, including popular holiday destinations among Australians such as Indonesia, Thailand, India, the Philippines and Pakistan.
The UK, parts of Europe, the Middle East and Africa are also considered high-risk for measles.
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The health department said two Australians recently acquired measles while in Bali, where there has been a significant increase in confirmed cases throughout 2022 and 2023, according to the World Health Organisation.
NSW Health communicable diseases branch director Christine Selvey warned anyone who is not immune is at risk of developing the disease if they are exposed.
“Measles can be very severe and people with measles often require hospitalisation, however it is almost completely preventable through vaccination,” Selvey said.
“Travellers who develop symptoms, should call ahead to their GP or emergency department to ensure they don’t wait in the waiting room with other patients.”
Measles begins as cold-like symptoms, such as sore eyes, fever, cough and runny nose, before a distinctive blotchy, red rash appears across the body three to four days later.
NSW Health says two doses of the measles vaccine, which is included on the National Immunisation Program for children at 12 and 18 months of age, provides long-term protection to 99 per cent of people vaccinated.
“People born prior to 1966 are likely to have had measles infection and are generally considered immune,” it said.
“People who are unsure of whether they have had two doses should get a vaccine, as additional doses are safe.”
Anyone travelling with young children should discuss their travel plans with their GP, NSW Health said.
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