Clinical Services

January 2020

Measles alerts - information for health staff


There have been six measles cases notified since New Year’s Eve in NSW and all patients are likely to have acquired their infections in Sydney. None were known contacts of recent cases.


Most cases have been in young adults aged 20-34 years; some had been vaccinated.


All NSW Health staff are requested to maintain a high index of suspicion for measles in returning travellers with fever, and in anyone with fever and maculopapular rash.

How does measles present?

  • A 2-4 day prodromal illness with fever, cough, coryza, and conjunctivitis.

  • A maculopapular rash then typically begins on the face and neck and becomes generalised.

  • Measles in previously vaccinated people may present atypically, with milder symptoms and a slower progression to the rash.

  • Cases are infectious from the day before the prodrome to four days after the rash onset.

How to manage suspected cases:

  • Isolate patients with fever and rash in a separate room on arrival.

  • Notify your public health unit (PHU) immediately – don’t wait for test results before calling.

  • Test by collecting a nose and throat swab, and a first pass urine sample for nucleic acid testing (PCR) and blood for measles serology (IgM and IgG).

  • Mark the tests requested as urgent.

See the NSW Health Measles website for information and resources here.

Contact for more information

Population and Public Health

1300 066 055

Submitted by Afrah Fazli on behalf of NSW Health

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