Public health alert: Measles outbreak                          

October 2013

There have been measles outbreaks occurring in Queensland and other states during 2013, with young children and school-aged children infected.

Measles is a highly infectious disease that can cause people to feel very unwell. It can cause complications such as middle ear infections and more serious complications such as pneumonia (lung infection) and encephalitis (inflammation of the brain).

Severe disease, including deaths, can occur mainly in children under five years of age. Complications are more common and more severe in people with a chronic illness and very young children.

Approximately 60% of deaths from measles are associated with complications, especially pneumonia in the young and encephalitis in adults.

The virus is spread from an infectious person during coughing and sneezing or through direct contact with secretions from the nose or mouth.

The Queensland Health Urgent public health alert for schools and early childhood education and care services regarding measles outbreaks provides information for parents about the disease and how to reduce the risk of their children being infected.

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