There has been a measles outbreak at an elite school in Brisbane’s west which has put children and parents on high alert.
A year 7 student from Ambrose Treacy College at Indooroopilly was diagnosed with the contagious disease and an email alert was sent to all parents.
The email read, “Measles is very contagious, and a person may be infectious from approximately five days before the onset of the rash and four days after the rash appears.”
“As with the majority of our students, this young man was very involved in many facets of College life — participating with a group at Queensland Catholic Schools & Colleges Music Festival on Saturday morning and playing in an ATC Year 7 rugby team.”
The rash wasn’t discovered on the student until Saturday afternoon. Parents have been advised to check for any symptoms.
Serious measles epidemics occurred every two to three years, 40 years ago. When the measles vaccine was introduced in 1968, the outbreaks fell rapidly, but small infections still occurred.
The recent outbreak in Brisbane is a good reminder to ensure children are up-to-date with their immunisations.
Measles is contagious and is spread when an infected person breathes, coughs or sneezes. The virus is transmitted through the air through respiratory droplets and can survive on hard surfaces for up to two hours.
The symptoms of the virus take between 10 and 14 days and include, a blotchy red rash, coughing, runny nose and inflamed red eyes. The first appearance of the rash can usually be seen on the face and neck and will continue to spread down the body. The infected person will feel very unwell and have a high fever.
Measles can cause other health complications including middle ear infections and laryngitis, as well as more serious infections such as pneumonia and encephalitis, which can lead to brain damage and death. The complications are common in very young children, hence the need to vaccinate.
Currently children aged 12 and 18 months are given a free measles as part of the National Immunisation Program.
Prevention is better than cure, if your vaccinations are not up-to-date, speak to your local GP.