Measles case in Adelaide

1 August 2019

SA Health has been notified of a case of measles in a 19-year-old woman from metropolitan Adelaide who acquired the infection while in Europe. The woman was at the following locations while infectious:

  • Royal Adelaide Hospital Emergency Department on Wednesday 31 July between 6.30 pm and 8.00 pm
  • Hampstead Health Family Practice, 1/237 Hampstead Road, Lightsview on Tuesday 30 July between 12 noon and 1:10 pm and on Wednesday 31 July between 9.00 am and 10.00 am
  • Adelaide Metro Buses on Monday 29 July: Route 502 Gilles Plains to Adelaide City continuing as Route 110 to West Lakes between 11:15 am and 12:15 pm, AND Route 502 Adelaide City to Salisbury Interchange and return to City between 1:15 pm and 2:15 pm
  • Adelaide University Engineering Building, Adelaide, on Monday 29 July between 12 noon and 1.30 pm
  • Tea Tree Plaza Shopping Centre, Modbury on Friday 26 July between 3.00 pm and 5.30 pm
  • Barnacle Bill, 746 North East Road, Holden Hill, on Friday 26 July between 5.00 pm and 6:10 pm.

There have been 142 measles cases reported in Australia this year. This is the 4th case of measles in a South Australian resident this year. The most recent case in July was a Queensland resident who spent some time in South Australia whilst infectious.

Measles is transmitted via respiratory aerosols that remain a risk to others for up to 30 minutes after the person has left the area. The incubation period is about 10 days (range 7 to 18 days) to the onset of prodromal symptoms and about 14 days to rash appearance. The illness is characterised by cough, coryza, conjunctivitis, a descending morbilliform rash, and fever present at the time of rash onset. The infectious period is from 24 hours prior to onset of the prodrome until 4 days after the onset of the rash.

Doctors with patients suspected of having measles are asked to:

  • Notify urgently any patient with suspected measles to the CDCB on 1300 232 272 (24 hours/7 days). Do not wait for laboratory confirmation.
  • Arrange urgent laboratory testing through SA Pathology. Take throat swabs in viral transport medium for measles PCR (preferred specimen) and urine for measles PCR (yellow top container).
  • Isolate suspected and confirmed measles cases and exclude from child-care/ school/ workplace for 4 days after rash appearance.
  • Ensure all household and other contacts are protected against measles (see Australian Immunisation Handbook)
  • Minimise transmission of measles:
    • Examine patients suspected of having measles in their own homes wherever possible.
    • Ensure the patient is only seen by practice staff with confirmed immunity to measles.
    • Ensure suspected cases do not use the waiting room, and conduct the consultation in a room that can be left vacant for at least 30 minutes afterwards.
    • Treat all people who attend the rooms at the same time as and up to 30 minutes after the infectious patient has left the rooms as contacts.

Measles vaccination (note measles vaccine is currently in short supply in Australia)

  • Two doses of a measles containing vaccine are highly effective at preventing measles. Offer measles vaccine (unless contraindicated, for example in pregnant women or immunosuppression) to all potentially susceptible persons who attend your practice.
  • While most people born in Australia before 1966 will have had measles in childhood, those born in the late 1960s to mid-1980s may have only received one measles vaccine.
  • Vaccination against measles can now be given from 6 months of age in infants travelling to countries where measles is endemic or a measles outbreaks are occurring (if given <12 months, 2 subsequent doses will be required).

Further clinical information is available at

For all enquires please contact the CDCB on 1300 232 272 (24 hours/7 days)

Dr Louise Flood – Director, Communicable Disease Control Branch

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