Measles is rare in Australia. But the virus is still common globally. Many countries are reporting an increase in measles cases, including popular travel destinations such as Bali, Thailand and India.
Measles is very infectious. 9 out of 10 unvaccinated people who come into contact with the virus will contract the illness. Measles can be severe, requiring hospitalisation.
Almost all cases of measles in Australia are brought here by overseas travellers. If you're heading overseas, make sure you're fully vaccinated.
Vaccination is the best prevention. 2 doses of the MMR vaccine give long-lasting protection. If you're unsure you've received 2 vaccine doses, talk to your doctor.
Very young children who haven't yet had 2 doses of the vaccine are most at risk. Ask your doctor whether they recommend early vaccination for your child if you're travelling somewhere where measles is a known risk.
Early symptoms of measles can look like the flu:
- red and sore eyes
- severe cough
- runny nose
- white spots in the mouth
A prominent red blotchy rash develops soon after these symptoms begin.
If you've been overseas and develop these symptoms, call your local GP or emergency clinic to discuss your illness.
- Don't go to a clinic in person unless it's a medical emergency. It may put other patients at risk.
- If you need in-person medical care, call the clinic before you arrive and tell them you suspect measles.
It's important to make sure you've been fully vaccinated in accordance with the national immunisation program. Also, get vaccinated against any vaccine-preventable diseases you may be at risk of due to your destination, activities, or other medical conditions.
Ensuring you're fully vaccinated can protect both you and those around you.
It's important to talk to your doctor early so they can provide advice on the best way to protect yourself from infection at your destination.
- Learn more about preventing infectious diseases while you travel
- Read about vaccinations and preventative health
- Measles (HealthDirect)