Local News

Travellers Urged To Vaccinate Against Measles

Measles is no joke

Queenslanders planning on travelling to New Zealand in the coming months should ensure they have been vaccinated against measles.

Queensland’s Chief Health Officer, Dr Jeannette Young, said in the past three weeks seven Queenslanders have been diagnosed with measles after recently visiting New Zealand, three have tested positive on the Sunshine Coast in September and October.  

“New Zealand is currently experiencing an outbreak of measles, which is why it is so important travelers planning on visiting New Zealand in the near future should ensure they are up to date with their vaccinations,” Dr Young said.

“It is also important that contacts of people who have recently returned or are returning from New Zealand ensure their measles vaccinations are up to date to prevent contracting measles from a returned traveler who is infected.

“Measles is one of the most infectious of all communicable diseases and is spread by tiny droplets formed through coughing and sneezing whilst unwell and infectious.

“Measles can be a serious illness with complications including pneumonia and encephalitis which can be fatal.

“The best way to protect yourself is to get vaccinated.

“If you are unsure whether you are up to date with your vaccinations and are heading overseas soon, book an appointment to see your GP.”

Dr Young said anyone thinking of travelling overseas—particularly to countries with large ongoing measles outbreaks such as the Philippines, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and other parts of Europe, and North and South America—should ensure their vaccinations are up to date.

“There may be a number of vaccine preventable diseases that you are at risk of contracting when travelling to another country,” Dr Young said.

“Adding vaccinations to your travel preparation ‘to-do’ list can help prevent you from getting sick when travelling overseas.

“Some vaccines can take a few weeks to become effective so if your departure date is fast approaching it’s best to book an appointment as soon as possible.

Queensland Health recommends anyone who has not had two documented doses of measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine or had proven measles, should visit their doctor to get vaccinated for measles. The vaccine is free for anyone born during or since 1966 who requires it.

For more information on measles visit the Queensland Health website or contact 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84) any time, any day.

Recommended travel vaccines may include:
Pneumococcal disease
Meningococcal disease
Hepatitis A
Hepatitis B
Yellow fever
Japanese encephalitis
Typhoid fever.
Further advice on travel immunisations for specific destinations:
World Health Organization
Smart Traveller
a travel doctor
your doctor.