Australia has already seen more cases of measles within the first four months of 2019 than it did for the entirety of 2018. It’s one of the most contagious diseases affecting humans, but it’s also preventable, with an effective vaccine that’s widely available.
• Measles is a serious, highly infectious viral illness. It’s spread through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Sometimes even just breathing may be enough to spread the virus.
• It’s highly contagious: if you’re not immune to the virus and you come into contact with someone infected with measles, you have a 90 per cent chance of getting sick.
• A single infected person can typically make between 14–18 other people sick.
• If someone with measles enters a room and coughs, the virus can stay in the air for some time after that person leaves the room—sometimes for up to two hours.
• An infected person is contagious from the first day of symptoms. These typically don’t appear until about 10 days after exposure.
It’s not just the unvaccinated who pose a risk to public health: many people in Australia may be under-vaccinated without realising it.
ABC News 9 December 2019: How a past tragedy saw anti-vaxxers help unleash a measles epidemic on Samoa.
More than 63 children in Samoa have died from measles. After a mass vaccination campaign, authorities are hopeful the spread of the highly contagious virus has been contained, but remain on edge. How did it come to this? Full stories: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-12-09/anatomy-of-an-epidemic:-how-measles-took-hold-of-samoa/11773018