Health

WA adults urged to vaccinate against measles

A Perth GP is urging West Australian adults born during or after 1966 to get their free measles vaccination before the Easter break.

A State Government funded program introduced last month is providing free measles vaccines for adults.

The program aims to prevent the spread of measles after 36 cases were reported in WA 2018, making it one of the worst years for measles since 2014.

The Department of Health has already reported 17 confirmed measles cases this year, with the latest reported cases occurring in Cannington and Bayswater.

WA adults should protect themselves against measles. Photo: Ruchitra Singh.

Almost three-quarters of these cases were adults aged 20 to 49-years–old.

Yangebup GP Dr George Andrawis said adults should take advantage of this program to prevent the spread of measles.

“Anyone born after 1966 who hasn’t had two documented vaccines should have it, especially now that it’s free,” he said.

“This year has been a surprise. There have been a couple of minor cases for measles in the past year from visiting overseas.”

The Department of Health is advising adults planning to travel overseas during the Easter break to check their vaccination history to ensure they have received their two doses of measles vaccine.

Department of Health spokesperson Patti Keegan said the program was addressing the gap in the community’s protection.

“People prior to 1966 are usually immune to measles due to having the illness as a child,” she said.

Travellers should get their free jab before leaving on holidays. Photo: Ruchitra Singh.

Dr Andrawis said symptoms like dry cough, running nose and rashes on the face may take up to 14 days to appear after potential exposure to measles.

“Anyone who believes they may have been affected should immediately go see the doctor,” he said.

People can access free measles vaccinations from their GP or local immunisation clinic.

Parents are being urged to make sure their children receive their measles vaccinations at 12 and 18 months.

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