SAFE TRAVELS: UK tourists Frances Barton, Sarah Munton, Harriet Conington and Harriet Sandbrook were all vaccinated against measles back home. Photo: Kathryn Cygan
SAFE TRAVELS: UK tourists Frances Barton, Sarah Munton, Harriet Conington and Harriet Sandbrook were all vaccinated against measles back home. Photo: Kathryn Cygan

Look out for measles signs

IF ANYONE was exposed to measles after a tourist was hospitalised with the disease, they should now start to display symptoms.

The Tropical Public Health Unit issued the alert for Airlie Beach and Proserpine at the weekend following the diagnosis of the highly infectious disease.

The traveller was infectious between March 11 and 17 and was discharged from Proserpine Hospital on Monday after being admitted on Saturday.

A Mackay District Hospital and Health Service spokeswoman said while no new measles cases had been diagnosed in the Whitsundays, yesterday was the first day when people would display symptoms.

"Symptoms usually start around 10 days after infection but sometimes longer," she said.

"Anyone who develops measles-like symptoms should immediately contact their GP.

"It is possible secondary measles cases will present from now until April 4."

Magnums Backpackers was one of several locations in Airlie Beach and Proserpine the infected tourist visited.

Employee Sandra Meyer said she was more worried about Zika virus than catching measles.

"No one's really ever worried about it until now," she said.

"There are more serious illnesses to be scared of, like the Zika virus.

"The people who are really worried seem to be all the people out of town, the ones that don't live here like our friends and relatives who have seen the alert online and are checking up on us to see if we are okay."

Tourists in Airlie Beach who may have been exposed to a person infected with measles say there is some worry that "plays in the back of your mind".

UK tourist Frances Barton said they don't really think about getting sick while travelling.

"I guess it's just in the back of your mind, you certainly don't expect it in Australia," Ms Barton said.

Harriet Sandbrook said she has been vaccinated but "it's certainly a worry".

Public Health physician Dr Donohue said anyone in Airlie Beach who was not vaccinated or could not verify their immunisation was up to date should contact their GP.

"We know this woman moved through the community while she was infectious, so there have been many opportunities to spread the illness," he said.

Updates online at whitsundaytimes.com.au

Symptoms

 Fever

 Dry cough

 Runny nose

 Sore throat

 Inflamed eyes (conjunctivitis)

 Unusual coloured white spots inside the mouth on the inner lining of the cheek


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