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Vaccination vigilance required
Tuesday 27 August 2013
In light of Victoria’s recent measles outbreak, AMA Victoria encourages all parents to vaccinate their children.
Measles, also known as rubeola, is an extremely contagious virus that causes a skin rash and fever. Serious and sometimes fatal complications include pneumonia and encephalitis (brain inflammation).
“People need to understand the dangers associated with measles. Many older Australians will remember the measles outbreaks which caused devastating illness, deaths and long-term neurological disability, as there was no vaccine at the time. This virus must be taken seriously and parents need to vaccinate their children” AMA Victoria President Dr Stephen Parnis said today.
In the last ten years, there have been 954 measles cases in Australia. The latest figures from the National Health Performance Authority show that there are several areas in Australia where immunisation coverage is below the 93-95 per cent coverage required to prevent measles outbreaks – that is, where herd immunity will not work.
Protection against measles, mumps, rubella and chickenpox is available under the National Immunisation Program Schedule, and it is also recommended for adults born during or post 1966. Every vaccine used in Australia has been thoroughly tested for safety and effectiveness, approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration and is subject to ongoing monitoring and evaluation.
“Immunisation is the most effective preventative measure against measles” said Dr Parnis.
 National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance. Australian Government, Department of Health and Ageing (updated 27 August 2013).
Australian Medical Association Victoria
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