Smiley face
Weather     Live Markets

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners has expressed concern over the increase in measles cases among returning travellers, as part of a global outbreak of the disease. So far, 35 cases have been reported in Australia this year, compared to 26 cases last year. The most recent case was detected in south-western Sydney in a young child who had recently returned from the Middle East. Dr. James Best, the chair of RACGP Specific Interests Child and Young Person’s Health, emphasized the need to take all measles cases seriously, as they are often brought into the country from abroad.

Measles cases are on the rise globally, prompting authorities to urge Australians to ensure that they are up-to-date with their vaccinations. Dr. Best highlighted the importance of herd immunity, stressing that a high vaccination rate is essential to prevent widespread outbreaks, especially in areas where vaccination rates are not sufficient. Concerns have been raised due to a slight drop in the vaccination rate in Australia and the slight increase in measles cases. The fear is that this could lead to more widespread outbreaks if not addressed promptly.

In Australia, the rates of fully vaccinated one-year-olds and five-year-olds saw a slight decrease between September and December 2023, according to the Australian Immunisation Register. However, there was a slight increase in two-year-old immunizations during the same period. The NSW North Coast has the lowest vaccination rates in the country, with only 86.67% of two-year-olds being fully vaccinated as of the December quarter, followed by country WA and the Gold Coast. The national target for vaccination coverage of all children at five years is 95%, and currently, the coverage rate stands at 93.93%.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander one- and two-year-olds have lower vaccination coverage rates compared to non-Indigenous children. However, by the time Indigenous children reach the age of five, they surpass the national target, with a coverage rate of 95.44%. This highlights the importance of ensuring that all children, regardless of their background, have access to timely and appropriate vaccinations. Efforts are being made to address the disparities in vaccination coverage among different communities, with a focus on improving access to vaccinations and education about the importance of immunization.

The RACGP is calling for increased awareness and vigilance regarding measles, particularly among travellers returning from countries experiencing outbreaks of the disease. They urge healthcare providers to educate their patients about the importance of vaccinations and to ensure that they are up-to-date with their immunizations. By maintaining high vaccination rates and promoting herd immunity, the spread of measles can be effectively controlled and outbreaks prevented. It is essential for individuals to take proactive steps to protect themselves and their communities from infectious diseases such as measles, through vaccination and timely healthcare interventions.

In conclusion, the increase in measles cases among returning travellers and the slight drop in vaccination rates in Australia are cause for concern. As measles cases continue to rise globally, it is crucial for individuals to prioritize vaccination and ensure that they are protected against this highly contagious disease. Efforts are underway to improve vaccination coverage rates, particularly in at-risk communities, to prevent outbreaks and protect public health. By working together to promote vaccination and herd immunity, we can effectively combat the spread of measles and other preventable diseases in our communities.

© 2024 Globe Echo. All Rights Reserved.