Travelers to Sydney urged to be immunized against measles

Australian health authorities recently issued a warning that people wishing to visit the state of New South Wales, and the Sydney area in particular, should be properly vaccinated against measles.

The Australian Center for Disease Control said that potential travelers to the region should visit a clinic two to four weeks prior to their departure to consult with a physician as to whether they need to be given the MMR vaccine, according to ChinaPost.com.tv.

New South Wales is currently experiencing its worst outbreak of the highly contagious illness in the last decade. The outbreak began in April after a young adult returned from a trip with the illness and transmitted it to susceptible contacts, according to Health.NSW.gov.au.

Since April, measles clusters have appeared in metropolitan Sydney emergency departments, a pediatric ward, several high schools, and in the south and southwestern portions of the capital.

Professor Mark Ferson, a director of a public health unit for the South Eastern Sydney Local Health District, said measles is a potentially serious infection.

"Measles is highly contagious and can be spread simply by being in the same room with someone carrying the disease," Professor Ferson said, WhereILive.com.au reports. "Anyone with symptoms of measles should not to go school, work or go out in public. Anyone who thinks they might be infected should see a doctor, but call ahead to make sure they do not infect others at the doctor's surgery."