Nine divisions risk measles outbreak
WHILE most of Australia will likely keep measles at bay over the next decade and more, the potential for outbreaks is growing in nine divisions of general practice, modelling shows.
Sydney researcher Dr James Woods (PhD) has found pockets, mainly in NSW, where poor immunisation coverage coupled with waning immunity may put communities at risk.
The modelling, based on serological data and vaccination rates, was “reassuring” for most of Australia, said Dr Woods, senior lecturer in the University of NSW School of Public Health and Community Medicine.
However, in a handful of areas, there was the potential for outbreaks over the next 10 years, he said.
The four divisions identified as highest risk were the Sunshine Coast in Queensland (which experienced an outbreak in 2009) and three NSW divisions – Northern Rivers, Blue Mountains and East Sydney. Five other divisions, one in South Australia (Adelaide Hills) and four in NSW were also at elevated risk.
“In these regions, there’s a better than even chance of large outbreaks occurring,” Dr Woods said, adding that the model did not take into account mitigation through public health interventions.
Nationally, measles antibody seropositivity had declined since 1999, particularly in teenagers and young adults, he said.