Health

Don’t assume it’s a cold!

If you or your child has a temperature, a severe cough and perhaps conjunctivitis, don’t assume it’s just a cold.

These symptoms may be present for three to four days before a rash appears that signals measles.

Health authorities have identified two separate clusters of measles in Melbourne in recent weeks and as it is a highly infectious (airborne transmitted) disease and a highly mobile population, further secondary cases are likely to occur.

The incubation period is variable and averages 10 days (range: 7 to 18 days) from exposure to the onset of fever, with an average of 14 days from exposure to the onset of rash.

The infectious period of patients with measles is roughly five days before, to four days after the appearance of the rash.

South Gippsland Shire Council’s Immunisation coordinator, Tim De Vere, urges residents to be watchful of these symptoms and to see a doctor if in doubt.

“Measles are rare in Australia, thanks to immunisations, but cases still occur in children or adults born during or since 1966, who have not received a measles vaccine,” he said.

“People who have never contracted measles or who have low immunity are also considered to be susceptible.

“Outbreaks like this are a good prompt for us all to check that our immunisations are up-to-date.

“The Council’s Immunisation team can usually verify the status for children through the national register, but adults may beed to check with their doctor.”

For further information about immunisation matters, contact the Council on 5662 9200.

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