Breaking News: Macquarie area sees third case of measles in two month period


Words || James Booth

Macquarie University Administration has informed the students and staff that an individual who was at Macquarie on Wednesday the 3rd of April and Thursday the 4th of April has been diagnosed with Measles. This confirmation came from NSW health, and follows 19 reported cases of measles in NSW since CHRISTMAS. Including a woman and an infant who had attended the Macquarie shopping centre on the 26th of February and the 2nd March, after contracting Measles from a trip to Bali, Indonesia.

NSW Health is urging anyone present:

  • At the food court between 2:00pm and 3:30pm on the 03/04/19,
  • At the food court between 5:00pm and 6:30pm on the 03/04/19,
  • At the food court between 1:00pm and 2:30pm on the 04/04/19.
  • At the Library Café between 2:00pm and 3:30pm on the 03/04/19.

That you may have been exposed to Measles and you should watch out for symptoms of measles until the 23/04/19, as well as avoiding anyone who may be at risk of measles until after this date.

This includes individuals born during or since 1966 who have not had two doses of the MMR vaccine, infants younger than 12 months who have not received their first dose of the MMR vaccine, children over 18 months who have not received their first dose of MMR vaccine, and individuals with a weakened immune system (potentially the result of Chemotherapy for Cancer or people taking high-dose steroid medications) regardless of whether they have been immunize or had past infection.

NSW Health also advises individuals that attended the following classes:

  • International Law lecture – Mason Theatre on 3/4/2019 11:00am, or
  • Marketing lecture – Macquarie Theatre on 3/4//2019 2:00pm, or
  • Marketing Tutorial – 11 Wally Walk, room 140 on 3/4/2019 3:00pm, or
  • International Law Tutorial – 17 Wally Walk, room 236 on 3/4/2019 4:00pm, or
  • Property Law tutorial – 4 Western Rd, room 213 on 4/4/2019 12:00pm, or
  • Statistics lecture – Macquarie Theatre on 4/4/2019 2:00pm, or
  • Statistics tutorial – 12 Second Way, room 435 on 4/4/2019 4:00pm, or
  • Statistics practical – 6 Eastern Rd, room 118 on 4/4/2019 5:00pm

To be aware that you also may have been exposed to measles and should look out for symptoms until the 23/04/19.

NSW health identifies the first symptoms as fever, runny nose, sore runny eyes, and a cough, followed a few days later by a rash that usually starts on the face. A Measles contact is identified by NSW Health as anyone who has shared the same air as someone with Measles, If the infection is transferred and takes hold in contacts, these people can go to develop measles symptoms in 7 to 18 days after sharing the same air. However, it is important to note that past infection or immunization will prevent those individuals from contracting the disease.

The World Health Organisation noted, on the 29th November 2018, that there has been a Global spike in measles cases within the last few years. The WHO links this to gaps in vaccination coverage, which has resulted in a fall to herd immunity of populations. Fine, Eames, and Heymann identify the historical recognition that periodic epidemics of childhood infections (such as measles, mumps, chickenpox, and rubella) arose as a result of the critical number of susceptible individuals in populations. Therefore epidemics can be delayed or averted by maintaining numbers of susceptible individuals below the levels of critical density.

So if science and health organisations agree that the best means of protecting ourselves from curable infections and epidemics in populations is maintaining our Herd Immunity, why on earth has there been a rise in Measles cases within NSW specifically.

The answer is as simple as much as it seems stupid, the rise of the Anti-Vax movements. To put it simply, the overwhelming success of Vaccinations in preventing many of these diseases from existing has meant that the diseases themselves have become virtually invisible to the majority of the population’s experience, and when you combine this with the rise of clean eating and organic movements you have the perfect storm brewing. We have concerned parents with very little understanding about the effects of these diseases which have impacted generations before us, and they simply want the best for their children.

There is no judgement to be placed on the student who has contracted this disease, and Grapeshot wishes them the best as they nurse back to full health. There is a lot of education gaps around the ways in which science and health work, so this should serve as a warning to students without vaccination of the dangers of failing to vaccinate. There really is no sugar coating this situation. Vaccinate your children, encourage other to vaccinate theirs and vaccinate yourselves, the rise of preventable diseases in our population is not something to be proud about. Especially when we have seen three cases of Measles present within Macquarie University and the linked Macquarie Centre.

If you suspect that you have contracted measles, NSW health recommends that you do not attend public places or use public transport, that you see a doctor as soon as possible so a diagnosis can be confirmed, and call the surgery ahead to alert them of your symptoms so they may assess you without the potential of infecting other people.

If the gaps in our herd immunity continue, we’ll see more and more outbreaks of preventable diseases. In the meantime we’re going to be stocking up on some surgical masks as a fashion statement x