An ENTIRE generation of young adults could be at risk of catching contagious disease following largest outbreak in 20 years.
Health professionals are concerned the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine may no longer be working effectively, leaving a large section of the population unprotected from the mumps virus.
Last year the biggest outbreak of mumps was recorded, with 804 cases, according to the federal Department of Health’s data. There have been 89 cases already this year, shares Courier Mail.
Health professionals are worried that 27 per cent of all mumps cases in Australia over the past five years were suffered by adults who had already received two doses of the vaccination, one at 12 months of age and another between the ages of four and six.
“It’s a recognised issue,” Australian Medical Association Queensland spokesman and specialist in infectious diseases, Dr Paul Bartley, said.
“It’s difficult to work out what proportion of patients have waning immunity because they tend to only come to medical attention after they get sick.
“It’s been pored over by public health professionals … but nothing has been confirmed about a problem with the vaccine.”
The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation has acknowledged that recent outbreaks of mumps have “predominantly involved young adults, nearly all of whom had a history of vaccination during childhood, most with the recommended two-dose schedule.
“This evidence of waning immunity has led to suggestions that vaccination with a third dose during adolescence might be an effective measure to prevent outbreaks.”
Dr Bartley said a third vaccination to protect young adults with waning immunity is “under active consideration”.
The most recent known case
There was a confirmed case of Measles at BIG W’s Werribee Plaza Store, Victoria.
On Sunday, March 12 the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) issued a release notifying the public of a confirmed case of measles. The patient in question is a casual employee of Big W at Werribee Plaza and worked over four consecutive days while infectious, but before being diagnosed.
The team member worked on Friday March 3 between 8pm and midnight, Saturday March 4 between 5 and 9 pm, Sunday March 5 between 3 and 6pm and Monday March 6 between 6 and 9pm.
BIG W is working closely with DHHS to ensure that customers and team members who may have come into contact with the patient are notified and advised of the signs and symptoms of measles.
For further information please contact your local doctor or call the Victorian Department of Health on 1300 651 160.
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