Unprecedented measles outbreak on Brisbanes south triggers warning – Sydney Morning Herald

Anyone who was on China Airlines Flight C145 from Auckland to Brisbane International Airport at 9.20pm, as well as anyone in the terminal from 9.20pm to 10.30pm, could be at risk of having measles.

Other infected individuals, who were teenagers and young adults, attended St Francis College at Crestmead on October 9 and 10 and Princess Alexandra Hospital from 9am to 10pm on October 11.

The measles exposure list also included Logan Hospital from October 10 to Wednesday morning, October 16.

Anyone who may have visited these locations was urged to contact their local GP or call 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84).

A rise from three to four cases per year to eight in a few weeks

Dr Jarvinen said the number of cases was highly unusual, especially in the south-east Queensland area.

“In our area, we might see one to three cases a year,” he said.

“In the last few years we have had similar numbers or more but this is fairly unprecedented … getting so many cases so quickly.

“Very rarely we will see two or three cases linked occasionally but not like this.

“Many of these are closely related through family, social connections and network but it’s also beyond that.

“We fully expect the numbers to increase because quite a large number of people have been exposed to measles while these people have been infectious.”


Dr Jarvinen said measles was highly infectious and in severe cases could cause pneumonia and encephalitis, which could be deadly.

“Measles is very contagious and remains airborne up to 30 minutes after the person has left the room. It is spread by tiny droplets through coughing and sneezing,” he said.

“Early symptoms include fever, runny nose, tiredness and sore, red eyes.

“This is followed by a blotchy red rash, which often starts on the face before becoming widespread.”

Symptoms could start from seven to 10 days or in some cases within a fortnight after coming into contact with a person with measles.

Dr Jarvinen said people who weren’t vaccinated and travelling to countries where there were outbreaks of measles were returning with the virus.

“Obviously we are now getting measles transmitted from person-to-person within our area but there are a number of locations overseas particularly close by like New Zealand where there’s a large outbreak,” he said.

“There is a risk of bringing measles here which indeed happened in the flight I mentioned before.”

However, Dr Jarvinen said the eight cases could not all be traced back to New Zealand but measles originated from overseas.

“In Australia, we are still classified as a measles-free country, meaning we do not normally have measles circling in our community … which means we need to stop this transmission.”

Dr Jarvinen said this was a timely reminder for everyone to ensure they had two doses of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine.

For more information, visit the Queensland Health website.

Jocelyn Garcia is a journalist at the Brisbane Times, covering breaking news.

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