Community Patients

Measles Outbreaks On The Rise

The Government is again having to invest in promotional material for the once thought eradicated illnesses the measles, due to rise in ant-vaccination rates.

The accepted vaccinated rate for community immunity is 95%, however currently there are only 93.5% of 2-year-old children in Australia that have received their required two doses of measles vaccination.

Year to date there had already been 83 measles notifications in 2019, compared with 103 for the whole of 2018 and 81 for the whole of 2017.

The Australian Academy of Science has been left with the task of developing and distributing material that will aim to raise awareness amongst individuals and health professionals about the risks of measles and the importance of being fully vaccinated against the disease.

The promotion will be primarily through online channels and through engagement through media channels.

The four videos will focus on:

  • A measles explainer, to describe the disease’s epidemiology and symptoms.
  • An educational video for health professionals to raise awareness of increased notifications and the importance of talking to patients about their vaccination status and the availability of catch up vaccines (where appropriate).
  • A promotion for travellers to ensure they are aware of the risks of measles in countries where the disease is endemic or where there are outbreaks, and that a cost-effective vaccination option is available to protect them from the disease.
  • A promotion for those born between 1966 and 1994, to encourage them to check their vaccination status and talk to their GP if they are not sure.

The first symptoms of the virus are fever, tiredness, cough, runny nose, sore red eyes and general unwell feeling. With a rash appearing after a few days, the rash starts on the face, spreads down to the body and lasts for 4-7 days. Young children (especially infants) may also experience diarrhoea.

Up to a third of people with measles will have complications. These include ear infections, diarrhoea, and pneumonia, and may require hospitalisation. About one in every 1000 people with measles develops encephalitis (swelling of the brain).

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