Visitors to John Hunter Hospital’s emergency department waiting room urged to look for measles symptoms

People who attended John Hunter Hospital’s emergency department waiting room this week have been urged to look for measles symptoms, after a teenager with the infection visited the facility.

Hunter New England Health (HNEH) said the teenager, who was incompletely vaccinated and had recently returned from Myanmar, became infectious on January 3 while in Brisbane and travelled by car to Newcastle on January 5. 

They visited the Woodburn riverside precinct on January 5 and the hospital on January 6. 

HNEH public health physician Dr David Durrheim said measles is highly contagious and spread through coughing or sneezing. 

Symptoms include fever, sore eyes and a cough followed three or four days later by a red, blotchy rash spreading from the head and neck to the body. 

“The time from exposure to the disease to the onset of symptoms is typically about 10 days but can be as long as three weeks so people should be alert to symptoms until the end of January. 

“Staff are contacting people known to have been in contact with this latest case to offer preventive injections, where appropriate.”