Measles spreads to eight in Tweed

Protected: Public Health nurse Sue Devlin vaccinates Kara Garchevic yesterday.
Protected: Public Health nurse Sue Devlin vaccinates Kara Garchevic yesterday.

EIGHT students have contracted measles in a Tweed Heads outbreak and health authorities are expecting more victims.

A student recently brought the disease back from an overseas holiday and subsequent cases have been confined to the student's siblings and fellow school students.

But there are fears more people will soon come down with the highly infectious preventable disease, and health authorities have renewed their call for parents to have their children vaccinated.

The Far North Coast has some of the lowest vaccination rates in Australia, and North Coast Area Health Service director of public health Paul Corben said there had been multiple opportunities for people outside Tweed River High School to have been exposed to the outbreak.

Mr Corben said the overwhelming majority of the eight people already infected were unvaccinated.

“Measles can be a seri- ous condition which can be trivialised by some anti-vaccination groups, but one-third of people who get the disease suffer complications including ear infections, pneumonia and diarrhoea,” Mr Corben said.

He said 10 to 15 per cent of cases could result in inflammation of the brain.

Doctor Graeme Burger, spokesman for the Tweed Valley General Practice Network, said vaccination was the single-most-effective measure to prevent major, catastrophic and killer diseases.

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