First Victorian measles case for 2020 in Geelong

A Geelong teenager has become the first Victorian measles case for 2020 after returning from Italy, according to the state’s Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton.

The teenager was now recovering at home but people who came into contact with them could be at risk of infection, Dr Sutton warned.

People exposed to the teenager at Woolworths Waurn Ponds between 12pm and 1pm on January 7 could experience an onset of symptoms up to January 25.

Those at Soul Pattinson Chemist, Geelong, between 7.15pm and 8.30pm on January 9 could experience an onset of symptoms up to January 27.

Dr Sutton encouraged locals born after 1966 and unsure of their or their children’s vaccination status organise a free shot with their GP.

He also advised locals planning to travel to get appropriate vaccinations.

In 2019 there were 57 confirmed measles cases in Victoria.

Almost all cases were in people not fully immunised against measles, who have either travelled overseas or been in contact with overseas travellers, according to authorities.

Measles is a highly infectious viral disease that can cause serious illness.

Those most at risk of serious illness include very young children and adults with weakened immune systems.

People can develop pneumonia and other serious complications from the disease, and often need to be hospitalised.

The illness usually begins with common cold symptoms such as runny nose, red eyes and a cough, followed by fever and rash.

A rash usually begins three to seven days after the first symptoms, generally starting on the face and then spreading to the rest of the body.

Dr Sutton urged anyone developing symptoms to phone their GP or hospital first to notify them of measles so they could take steps to avoid contact with other people.

Anyone who is unvaccinated is at highest risk of contracting measles.

The disease is now uncommon in Australia because of the widespread use of the measles vaccine.

Most people born before 1966 will have been exposed to measles in childhood, and therefore will be protected.

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