Measles Outbreak In Australia And New Zealand; Patients Likely Caught Virus At NSW Dance Festival

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By Anne Lu | January 4, 2014 8:34 AM EST

A measles outbreak has been issued in Victoria after an infected man came into contact with thousands of people during Boxing Day at a shopping centre in Melbourne. Similarly, the New Zealand Ministry of Health has confirmed ten cases of affected people, all of whom have attended a hip-hop competition in NSW.

Dr Rosemary Lester, Chief Health Officer of the Department of Health of Victoria, said that a 21-year-old man infected with measles may have passed the highly contagious virus to countless others on Boxing Day while he was shopping at the Chadstone Shopping Centre in Melbourne.

It's likely that the man caught the virus at the World Supremacy Battlegrounds' Hip Hop dance competition in December, The Age reports.

New Zealand has also announced a measles outbreak in the country after ten cases have been confirmed. All patients have been linked to the same international dance competition in Australia.

Dr Harriette Carr, acting deputy director Public Health at the Ministry of Health, said that three of the infected had attended the dance contest, while the rest of the cases were family or acquaintance of those who had attended the competition.

No one has been hospitalised yet, though all those currently infectious are being kept isolated at home.

The cases of measles in both Australia and New Zealand appear to have originated in the hop hop dance competition, and the main source is suspected to be a competitor from the Philippines.

Marco Selorio, the founder of the competition, believed that the first known case was a Filipino who competed even though he had shown flu-like symptoms. He became bedridden after.

"We were first contacted by the Auckland regional public health service on December 30 and informed that a New Zealand dancer contracted measles," he had been quoted by The Age as saying. "The following day, the Australian Department of Health alerted us that another dancer from South Australia was also infected.

"Since we got the call from the department of health, we have been trying to contact everyone to make sure this does not spread any further."

The World Supremacy Battlegrounds' Hip Hop dance competition was attended by over 2000 people, with competing teams from Guam, Japan, and Malaysia, as well as the three aforementioned countries: Australia, New Zealand, and the Philippines.

Australian Medical Association Victoria VP Dr Tony Batone that any non-immunised person could acquire the virus within three metres of an infected person. Adults who are between 33 and 47 years old are the most at risk of catching measles.

Symptoms of which include fever, sore throat, cough, and red eyes, and then rashes become visible on the face and down the body after three to seven days.

Anyone who develops the symptoms is advised to contact their GP or hospital first to alert them instead of turning up at the hospital.

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