Reminder measles requires prompt medical attention

Confirmed case in State’s mining sector.
Date: Wednesday, 16 October 2019

The Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety is reminding mining operations about the importance of identifying the symptoms of measles early following a recently confirmed case in Western Australia’s mining sector.

Acting Director Mines Safety Christina Folley said it is important for anyone with measles' symptoms to seek immediate medical attention to prevent further outbreaks.

“It is important to tell staff when making medical appointments that you may be infectious,” she said.

“You will need to wait in a separate area from others, especially young children.

“Measles can be difficult to diagnose early because there are many other viruses that cause similar symptoms such as a fever and a rash.

“Sometimes the presence of white spots inside the mouth, the timing of the fever and the rash, and the appearance of the rash can help a doctor make a diagnosis.”

Measles is usually spread when a person breathes in the virus after it has been coughed or sneezed into the air by an infected person.

The time from exposure to becoming sick is usually about 10 days, with the rash normally appearing around 14 days after exposure. The first symptoms of measles are a fever, tiredness, a runny nose, a cough and sore red eyes.

The virus can have serious complications and up to one third of people infected with the measles will experience a complication. This can include ear infections, diarrhoea and pneumonia, which may require hospitalisation.

To prevent catching the infection, avoid sharing plates or utensils and wash your hands often.

While you are infectious with measles, it is important you stay at home up to four days after the rash appears to avoid infecting other people.

There is no specific treatment for measles. You should rest, drink plenty of fluids, and take paracetamol for fever if required.

Measles is a notifiable disease so doctors, hospitals and laboratories must inform the Department of Health of a diagnosis but this notification is confidential.

More information is available on the Department of Health (DoH) webpage on measles and in this DoH fact sheet.