Dozens of babies and toddlers get urgent immunisations after measles outbreak
Babies and toddlers at a Victorian childcare centre have been given urgent immunisations after the largest measles outbreak in more than a year.
A baby and five adults were infected by a guest at a family event in Melbourne’s east earlier this month.
A guest visiting from Vietnam attended two weddings — one in Mornington and another in St Kilda.
Victoria’s acting chief health officer Angie Bone said children at the childcare centre who came in contact with the infected baby have been given treatment to help them fight the virus.
“More than 30 babies and toddlers have been provided with antibodies through an injection of immunoglobulin at Monash Medical Centre to help prevent further disease,” Dr Bone said.
The immunoglobulin, an antibody treatment, can stop the measles infection if administered within six days of infection.”
“We have one infant that actually has the infection and as far as I’m aware they are not seriously unwell,” Dr Bone said.
“We have another group of infants who have been exposed to a case, so they’ve not got infection yet.
“We’re hoping very much that through our efforts that we have either managed to reduce the severity of the subsequent infection or prevented it all together, but this is never 100 per cent.”
It is the biggest outbreak of measles in Victoria since March last year.
The cluster takes the total number of measles cases in the state this year to 22, compared to 20 at this time last year and seven the year before.
“Of course we continue to monitor the situation because it is quite likely that despite our best efforts we may have further cases,” Dr Bone said.
“These measles cases contracted their infection from a case that we knew about earlier in the month, who was an overseas visitor and attended two family events in Victoria.”
Measles patient travelled widely in Melbourne
In addition to the weddings in Mornington and St Kilda, the man also travelled to Moonee Ponds, North Melbourne, Coburg, Mount Waverly and Williamstown.
“We also have further information about one additional case who is unrelated to these cases but linked to a case we knew about in April,” Dr Bone said.
“Again that case was an overseas traveller.”
That patient travelled to Bendigo and Echuca before being diagnosed.
Dr Bone said anyone with symptoms should phone ahead before attending any medical centre or hospital to protect other patients.
“The characteristic measles 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 Bone said.
“Anyone developing symptoms is advised to ring ahead to their general practitioner or hospital first and tell them that they may have measles so that appropriate steps can be taken to avoid contact with other patients.”
Anyone who spent time in the following suburbs in early May onwards should be alert for symptoms:
- Melbourne CBD
- East Malvern
- Noble Park
- Mount Waverley
- South Wharf
- East Melbourne
- St Kilda Road