Australian Vaccination Network silent on S.A. measles outbreak

Measles is a serious disease that is easily spread through the air. Immunisation is effective in preventing the disease. All children and adults born during or after 1966 should be vaccinated with 2 doses of MMR vaccine if not already immune.

So says a pretty straight forward opening to the NSW Fact Sheet on measles. Yet we know this isn’t good enough for certain people who usually cite a series of grossly inaccurate claims for avoiding immunisation. Claims fed to Australians from a growing number of crackpots, chiropractors, charlatans and opportunistic new age scam artists. Perhaps the most damaging source is the Australian Vaccination Network presently facing court proceedings.

Meryl Dorey must be proud of her handiwork, although yesterday was unusually quiet regarding South Australia Health’s public health alert, down to two people whose parents took Meryl’s advice;

August 11 2011

SA Health has issued a public health alert about the highly infectious measles virus following two confirmed cases in South Australia this week. SA Health’s Chief Medical officer, Professor Paddy Phillips, said both cases are linked with the recent measles case reported in July this year.

“Both of these people were not vaccinated against measles and were in close contact with the original case during his infectious period,” Professor Phillips said.

The original case? Yes, the original case;

15 July 2011

SA Health has issued a public health alert about the highly infectious measles virus following a confirmed case in South Australia this week.

SA Health’s Chief Medical officer, Professor Paddy Phillips, said a man from metropolitan Adelaide acquired the virus while overseas.

“During the infectious period, the man travelled from Dubai through Melbourne to Adelaide,” Professor Phillips said.

What was Meryl Dorey doing yesterday, as Australia’s self proclaimed expert of vaccine preventable disease and the vaccines themselves? Where was her release on this trifling matter? “You didn’t die from it 30 years ago and you’re not going to die from it today”, she lied back in April 2009. Well, we had a schlock article from the far fringe, Why Don’t Children Regress Before They Turn One? by F. Edward Yazbak, MD, FAAP-the evidence mounts-vaccines cause autism! That’s Dorey’s bit on the end. “-the evidence mounts-vaccines cause autism!”. Yes, that Edward Yazbak – antivaccination rogue and autism scare monger.

As I noted a few posts back this headline maker just won’t lie down. Yazbak’s nonsense can be dispensed swiftly if we note that measles deaths increased but autism rates remained the same when MMR was ceased in Japan altogether and autism rates persisted when thimerosal was removed from the MMR vaccine. So both the “vaccine culprit” and the “thimerosal (mercury compound) culprit” are dead. But this won’t prevent pushing belief systems. Like Ken Ham building a creation museum following a court victory to prevent teaching creationism as science, the autism schlock jocks will just get sillier and sillier.

So with no reason to not vaccinate and evidence denialists making us sicker the tired old line about pro choice is revealed as an outrageous smirk to hide the truth of an ideology gone terribly wrong. With that in mind should we worry about yesterday’s health warning? It continued;

SA Health is currently contacting those who may have been spent time with either of these people to provide information and advice about prevention measures.

One visited several public places during their infectious period, including Va Bene at the Burnside Village on Friday 22 July from 11:00am to 5:30pm and on Saturday the 23rd July from 10:00am to 5:00pm. The same person was also in the Hindley Street precinct, including the Red Square Bar and Lounge and the Rosemont Hotel between 11:50pm on Saturday 23 July to 4am on Sunday 24th July.

We are advising anyone who was in these areas during these times to be alert for any symptoms of measles over the next two weeks and if they are ill to see their doctor.

I don’t want to spoil the candid tone of the the health warning but Va Bene at Burnside Village houses beauty salons, shoe shops, clothing stores, more shoes… Given the time/s spent there we seem to have someone working in a very public place. Given we probably go to Va Bene to make ourselves bootifal I’m guessing a female twenty something. Probably having risen to the dizzying corporate heights of a shop assistant. Someone who knows they’re unvaccinated, spent time with an infectious measles patient and is skipping about town by choice. Call me mean but I’m guessing Ms. Va Bene giggles a lot.

Then it’s on to the Red Square Bar and Lounge and Rosemont hotel that night until 4am. Four AM? Neighbourhood Watch perhaps? You just know what Google’s going to tell us about where our giggly and dizzy twenty something unvaccinated groupie’s been, don’t you.

Happy hours and top 40 hits abound at Adelaide’s “number one R&B club”. Housed in the massive Red Square complex (no, not a hangover from the cold war) this bar cum late-night club sees more than its fair share of punters – dressed to the nines and eager for tasty beats – packing the dancefloor each night.

Oh my. It went a-dancing. How’s measles spread again? Could Giggles Va Bene have possibly known to lay low?

  • Measles is usually spread when a person breathes in the measles virus that has been coughed or sneezed into the air by an infectious person. Measles is one of the most easily spread of all human infections. Just being in the same room as someone with measles can result in infection.
  • People with measles are usually infectious from just before the symptoms begin until four days after the rash appears. The time from exposure to becoming sick is usually about 10 days. The rash usually appears around 14 days after exposure.

Ah. Just “being in the same room”. Giggles was one of the “fair share of punters… packing the dancefloor each night”, at Red Square Bar.

Then on to The Rosemont Hotel, a cool 24 hour sports bar and pokie venue. The time overlap for infection and incubation is perfect. July 22nd. It’s highly probable Giggles Va Bene was given a heads up on the potential for developing measles herself, as all those close to the male patient would have been contacted. Being in close contact with the initial measles patient during the infectious period and gallivanting around town helps confirm my diagnosis of dizzy and giggly.

In fact the anti-vaxxer cry of “We’ll always quarantine ourselves” in defence of being a public risk is revealed in this case as utterly futile. And indeed rightly so. No public health measure can rely on promises and hearsay from anybody, much less evidence denialists . One may be forgiven for thinking Giggles Va Bene is a tad arrogant. This is a mature young woman who has every right and opportunity to have herself vaccinated yet has chosen not to do so. Who ignored the risk of almost certain infection. Who may well have ignored public health advice. The standard public health response in this regard includes;

…identify other people at risk of infection, implement control measures (such as immunisation and restrictions on attending school or work) and provide other advice.

One hopes her companions fit the high probability of being vaccinated. Even still, subclinical infection is always a possibility and that goes for anyone who was unfortunate enough to come anywhere near this individual. After all she isn’t going to dress like a first century Palestinian leper carrying a tin cup moaning “…unclean… unclean”.

That however, is the real point here. This poor woman is almost certainly a victim of her parents and her own ignorance born of calculated fear mongering and stupidity. We don’t need the sick and infectious to wear signs nor to yell their approach for we have the protection of vaccines as individuals and vaccine induced herd immunity as a community. So, what may the future bring if this continues to unfold? We can look to New Zealand – on the very same day – for an idea;

A measles outbreak in the upper half of the North Island has led to a spike in the number of children being vaccinated against the highly contagious virus.

Ministry of Health vaccine distribution figures showed a “significant increase” in demand for the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine this year, ministry immunisation manager David Wansbrough said today.

More than 120 cases of measles have been reported since the outbreak began in Auckland in May. Waikato District Health Board (DHB) yesterday confirmed 17 cases – all in teenagers – in the region, with eight more suspected cases. Health authorities fear the virus may have spread to Northland after a three-year-old with suspected measles went to day care during the infectious period.

A 17-year-old Taupo girl has also been diagnosed with the virus.

Measles infections and deaths pre and post vaccine

When the reality of “informed choice” hits home as a potentially lethal disease somehow the trendy status of being a parent with unvaccinated kids loses it’s gloss. We see increased vaccination. But not always. This is a belief system and one worn as a badge of imagined independence from social conformity. Ms. Giggles Va Bene may potentially become a very sick young lady and may quite likely carry some problems for life.

Even worse, she may have infected babies or someone who cannot be vaccinated or someone else playing the same game of Russian Roulette. Complications for adults over twenty include;

  • diarrhoea,
  • vomiting,
  • eye infection (conjunctivitis), and
  • inflammation of the voice box (laryngitis).

Inner ear infection and inflammation (otitis media), which often causes earache, may also be a complication of measles.

Fits that are caused by a fever (febrile convulsions) are also possible complications of measles.

Less common complications include;

  • meningitis,
  • pneumonia (lung infection), signs of which are fast, difficult breathing, chest pain and deteriorating condition,
  • hepatitis (liver infection),
  • encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), which can be fatal, so watch for drowsiness, headache and vomiting,
  • low platelet count, known medically as thrombocytopenia, which affects the blood’s ability to clot,
  • bronchitis and croup (infection of the airways), characterised by a hacking or barking cough, and
  • squint, if the virus affects the nerves and muscles of the eye.

More serious complications;

  • serious eye disorders, such as an infection of the optic nerve (the nerve that transmits information from the eye to the brain), known as optic neuritis, which can lead to blindness,
  • heart and nervous system problems,
  • a serious brain complication known as subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE), which can sometimes occur several years after measles. Although the condition is fatal, it is very rare, occurring in only 1 in every 100,000 cases of measles.

Don’t listen to the anti-vaccination lobby. Speak to your doctor and be sure to get your children vaccinated.

SA Health has issued a public health alert about the highly infectious measles virus following a confirmed case in South Australia this week.

SA Health’s Chief Medical Officer, Professor Paddy Phillips said the 44-year-old woman from metropolitan Adelaide has been linked to the recent measles case in late January.

“Measles is highly contagious among people who are not fully immunised, and is spread through coughing and sneezing,” Professor Phillips said.

“The illness begins with fever, cough, runny nose, and sore eyes, followed by a rash which begins on the head and then spreads down the body.  Complications of measles can be severe.

“We are advising anyone who was in the locations listed below during these times to be alert for symptoms over the two weeks after that potential exposure and if they are ill to see a doctor.

“It is very important that people phone their GP ahead of any visit and mention why they are attending, so that precautions can be taken to avoid spreading disease to others.”

  • Tuesday 31st January, West Lakes Shopping Centre, 10.00am to 2.00pm.
  • Wednesday 1st February, Cyprus Community Club, 8 Barpowell Rd, Welland, 10:00am to 3:00pm.
  • Thursday 2nd February, Uniting Care Wesley Adelaide, Mile End, 9.30am to 12.00pm.
  • Thursday 2nd February, Thebarton Neighbourhood House 10 Falcon Ave, Mile End,10.00am to 4.00pm
  • Thursday 2nd February, AMF Woodville Bowls 12.00pm to 3.30pm.
  • Friday 3rd February, Cheltenham Community Centre, 62 Stroud Street North, Cheltenham 9:30am to 5:00pm.
  • Friday 3rd February, on the 10.40am train from Cheltenham to the City.
  • Friday 3rd February, Jasper’s Coffee shop, Adelaide 11.00am to 2.00pm.
  • Friday 3rd February, on the 12.07pm train from the City to Cheltenham.

An alert has been issued to General Practitioners advising them of this case.

SA Health has contacted the businesses the woman visited during the infectious period.

Immunisation provides the best protection against measles. Two doses of measles containing vaccine are strongly recommended for all persons born after 1965.

People in this age group are encouraged to check their vaccination records, and request the vaccine if there is no record of two doses of measles vaccine.

This is the second case of measles reported in South Australia during 2012. There were four cases reported in 2011.

A fact sheet about measles can be found on SA Health’s

For more information call the SA Health Media Line.

Telephone: (08) 8226 6488

All one close group with only one thing in common. Being not vaccinated against measles.


2 thoughts on “Australian Vaccination Network silent on S.A. measles outbreak

  1. Pingback: Measles Goddess’ Wrath Hits Victoria | Losing In The Lucky Country

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