Vaccine-preventable disease skyrockets


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Measles notifications have hit 173 across Australia for this year up to September, far surpassing the number for 2018 and 2017…

Cases of measles, a very contagious viral illness that is preventable with vaccination, are on the rise in Australia.

So far this year there have been 173 notifications in Australia, as of September 2019.

During 2018 there were 103 notifications, and in 2017 there were 81.

The majority of measles cases are due to unvaccinated individuals becoming infected while travelling to countries in which measles is either common or there are outbreaks occurring.

However NSW Health recently put out a measles alert following a third locally acquired case.

The woman in her 30s had not travelled prior to her illness and has no known links to previously identified measles cases. 

Health Minister Greg Hunt has urged Australians to check their measles immunisation history – particularly those who are planning to go overseas, and those born between 1966 and 1994.

Some of the latter group may only have had one dose of vaccine, and two are recommended for full protection.

As a result these people are at higher risk of contracting the disease.

“Immunisation saves lives. The measles vaccine is very effective at protecting lives,” said Minister Hunt.

The measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine is safe and highly effective, with two doses providing lifelong protection in 99 out of 100 people who are vaccinated.

Measles is easily spread and at least 95% of people need to be vaccinated for there to be enough immunity across the population to stop spread and help protect those who cannot be vaccinated, explains the Department of Health.

The Australian Government provides measles vaccines at no cost through the National Immunisation Program (NIP) for all individuals up to the age of 19 years. Most states also provide vaccines at no cost to some groups.

Measles notifications received from State and Territory health authorities per month (Source: National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System)

 

ACT

NSW

NT

Qld

SA

Tas

Vic

WA

Aust (Total)

January 2019

0

9

0

1

2

0

3

10

25

February 2019

1

5

3

4

0

0

4

3

20

March 2019

0

11

26

5

0

0

2

1

45

April 2019

0

9

0

4

1

1

4

4

23

May 2019

0

2

0

0

0

0

13

0

15

June 2019

0

0

0

2

0

0

0

1

3

July 2019

1

1

0

7

1

0

5

4

19

August 2019

0

8

0

0

0

0

5

1

14

September 2019

0

7

0

1

0

0

1

0

9

 

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