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WA measles spike blamed on Philippines

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Overseas travellers are bringing more than holiday memories and happy snaps home to Western Australia, with a spike in the state’s measles infections being blamed on an outbreak in the Philippines.

Since January, there have been 13 cases of measles reported in WA – eight of which occurred after travel to the Philippines.

It is the highest rate of measles cases recorded in WA since 2006.

Dr Paul Armstrong, the director of WA Health Communicable Disease Control, said an ongoing measles outbreak in the Philippines warranted an urgent reminder.

“Individuals who have returned from the Philippines, or think they might have been exposed to measles, and who develop symptoms of the disease, should stay away from others and promptly consult their doctor,” Dr Armstrong said.

“The patient should mention their possible contact with measles when they call their doctor so that they can be isolated when they arrive at the surgery and prevent the spread of measles to other patients.”

Naturally occurring measles has been eliminated from WA for over a decade.

Symptoms include fever, runny nose, inflamed eyes and cough, followed a few days later by a red blotchy rash.

People travelling to the Philippines should check that they and their children are fully immunised against the disease before their departure, Dr Armstrong said.

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