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Title: Control of a community outbreak of measles which started in a poorly immunised high school population.
Authors: Merianos, A
Miller, N C
Patel, M S
Citation: Australian journal of public health 1993-09; 17(3): 231-6
Abstract: An outbreak of measles occurred in Darwin from February to March 1991. The first case was in a 13-year-old high school student who had returned from a holiday overseas. She was symptomatic on the second day of the new school term. She infected an infant while both waited in a doctor's surgery. Outbreak control measures were instituted 18 days later when the Communicable Diseases Centre was first alerted of cases through the laboratory notification scheme. Through active surveillance, we identified 76 cases of measles, of whom 92 per cent (70 cases) were under 20 years of age. Of these, 46 were students at the index high school in which the attack rate was 39.2 per 1,000. They transmitted the disease to six unvaccinated siblings aged 11 to 18 years, resulting in a secondary attack rate of 113 per 1,000 in this age group (relative risk of disease in siblings 2.8, 95 per cent confidence interval 1.2 to 6.2). The outbreak affected one other high school, a number of primary schools, one tertiary institution, and nine children under five years. Only four of the cases had a verified history of previous immunisation against measles. The outbreak was arrested within two weeks of instituting community-wide control measures. Inadequate immunisation coverage among school-aged children and delays in notification contributed to the severity of the outbreak. Improved measles surveillance systems, including telephone notification of clinical cases are needed so that control measures can be instituted immediately within the household and in the community.
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Journal title: Australian journal of public health
Publication Date: 1993-09
ISSN: 1035-7319
Type: Journal Article
Appears in Collections:(a) NT Health Research Collection

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