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Measles advisory

Published on Friday, July 23, 2010 Email To Friend    Print Version

THE Australian advisory below was shared by the Public Health Department with people who travelled to this year’s World Cup in South Africa. The case was confirmed in Australia and no cases of measles related to returning travelers have been reported in the Cayman Islands yet.

The advisory is to alert returning travelers and medical personnel to the possibility of measles should they experience/see some of the symptoms listed below.

Measles diagnosed in World Cup traveler
Laboratory-confirmed case of measles was found in a returned traveller from the FIFA World Cup in South Africa. The 24-year-old male travelled from Australia to South Africa. He did not seek pre-travel medical advice, but had been immunized as a child. He attended the following world cup matches:

England vs USA - Rustenberg 12 Jun 2010
Australia vs Germany - Durban 13 Jun 2010
England vs Algeria - Cape Town 18 Jun 2010
Australia vs Ghana - Rustenberg 19 Jun 2010
Australia vs Serbia - Nelspruit 23 Jun 2010

Given that the patient’s symptoms first appeared on Fri 2 Jul 2010 and the rash appeared on Sun 4 Jul 2010, it could be speculated that he became infected in either Cape Town or Rustenberg.

Given the large current outbreak of measles in South Africa, clinicians and public health officers should be alert to possible presentations of measles in returned travellers from the FIFA World Cup.

Additional transmission may also have occurred in Darwin, Australia in late June/early July 2010. Young adults, such as this case, are at risk of measles infection as they may have only had one immunisation and consequently may have had insufficient protection.

World Health Organisation Measles fact sheet
The first sign of measles is usually a high fever, which begins about 10 to 12 days after exposure to the virus, and lasts four to seven days.

A runny nose, a cough, red and watery eyes, and small white spots inside the cheeks can develop in the initial stage. After several days, a rash erupts, usually on the face and upper neck. Over about three days, the rash spreads, eventually reaching the hands and feet.

The rash lasts for five to six days, and then fades. On average, the rash occurs 14 days after exposure to the virus (within a range of seven to 18 days).

It can be transmitted by an infected person from four days prior to the onset of the rash to four days after the rash erupts. The virus remains active and contagious in the air or on infected surfaces for up to two hours.

As of 28 Apr 2010, 12 227 cases of measles had been confirmed in an outbreak that started in South Africa in January 2009. Cases have been reported from all 9 provinces of South Africa, but the outbreak has been concentrated in the northeast of the country.

A national programme to immunise children against measles took place between 12 and 23 Apr 2010.

Travellers to South Africa to attend the FIFA World Cup were officially advised by the UK Health Protection Agency to ensure that they were up to date with the British Schedule of vaccination, which includes measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR)

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