- Passengers on a flight from Singapore to Perth may have been exposed to measles, with a passenger diagnosed after returning home.
- The Red Cross Blood Service says it is concerned about the impact of dengue fever on blood donations in far north Queensland.
- A significant rise in the number of mumps cases across South Australia has led health officials to urge the public to make sure their vaccinations are up to date.
News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 22nd January 2015. Read by Rebecca Foster.
Passengers on a flight from Singapore to Perth may have been exposed to measles, with a passenger diagnosed after returning home.
The passenger arrived in Perth around 6:00pm on Sunday January 11, on Scoot flight TZ 8 from Singapore.
The WA Department of Health has warned people on that flight, particularly those sitting near row 43, that they were potentially exposed.
Other areas where people may have been exposed included the arrival area at Perth International airport on January 11 between 6:15pm and 7:00pm and the children’s play area adjacent the Vale Shopping Centre in Canning Vale between 6:30pm to 7:30pm on January 13.
People at the Forest Lakes Medical Centre in Thornlie around 8:45am to 10:15am on January 14, and the emergency department at Armadale Kelmscott Memorial Hospital around 10:30am to 11:00am on January 17 may also be at risk.
In a statement, WA Health Medical Epidemiologist Dr Gary Dowse said public health staff had been contacting potentially exposed people where they were known, but it was not possible to identify all people who were in the listed public places.
He said symptoms include a fever as well as a cough, runny nose, sore red eyes and a rash.
“Anyone who thinks they are infected should call ahead and mention their possible contact with measles so they can be isolated when they arrive at the GP surgery or emergency department, to prevent infecting other patients and staff,” Dr Dowse said.
He said vaccinations had eliminated naturally occurring measles from WA for over a decade, but occasional cases and small outbreaks occured from infected tourists or WA residents returning from overseas.
“Complications following measles can be very serious and may include ear infections and pneumonia in about 10 per cent of cases,” the Department of Health statement said.
“Around 50 per cent of cases may require hospitalisation and about one person in every 1,000 will develop encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain.”
The Red Cross Blood Service says it is concerned about the impact of dengue fever on blood donations in far north Queensland.
Nine cases of the mosquito-borne illness have been confirmed in the Cairns suburbs of Edmonton, Mount Sheridan, Bentley Park, Trinity Beach and Mooroobool.
The Cairns service was forced to close for six months after last year’s dengue outbreak, in which 136 people were diagnosed.
Spokeswoman Sandy Holmes is asking potential donors to stay away from the affected areas, if possible.
“If you walk into that area, if you drive your car with your windows down, that is declared that you are in that area, at that time,” she said.
“If they’ve been to perhaps one of the shopping centres in the area or perhaps one of the waterslide parks or something like that, they won’t be able to donate whole blood at the moment but they will be able to make a plasma donation.”
A significant rise in the number of mumps cases across South Australia has led health officials to urge the public to make sure their vaccinations are up to date.
In just the first month of the year there have been nine cases of mumps reported to SA Health, compared to last year’s annual total of 14 cases and just five in 2013.
SA Health chief medical officer Paddy Phillips said many of the cases occurred in people who had not been fully vaccinated.
He said people not vaccinated for mumps probably have not been vaccinated for measles either, with the illness most commonly affecting people aged between 20 and 40.
“What is a bit concerning is that fact that if these people aren’t vaccinated against mumps then they’re probably not vaccinated against measles and rubella as well,” Professor Phillips said.
“Measles can be much more severe than mumps and can even be fatal and rubella can cause congenital heart defects and other defects.
“This is absolutely a reminder for people to keep their vaccinations up to date and to make sure their children are vaccinated,” he said.
Professor Phillips said mumps was a respiratory illness that most commonly caused swollen glands on the sides of the face and jawline, which was spread through coughing and sneezing.
Symptoms of mumps include fever, headache and swollen glands around the neck and face.
Professor Phillips said
“I would encourage anyone who is unsure if they have had both doses of the MMR vaccine to speak to their doctor and arrange a catch-up vaccination if necessary.”
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