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Measles vaccination hits the spot
A more mobile work force is increasing the risk of measles outbreaks.
This is the finding from a study published in the latest issue of the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health.
Paul Burgess from NT Centre for Disease Control, and colleagues, used a case study of ‘fly-in fly-out’ workers on an offshore industrial vessel to highlight how easy it is for measles to spread over large distances, both domestically and internationally.
“‘Fly-in fly-out’ workers are flown to a work site for a number of days and then flown back to their home for rest days,” said Dr Burgess.
“These workers are a risk group with the potential to spread disease far and wide.
“Our study found four measles cases from two Australian jurisdictions which were linked retrospectively to a New Zealand ‘fly-in fly-out’ worker.
“The past decade has borne witness to unprecedented industrial development in north-west Australia which has large-scale projects staffed largely by ‘fly-in fly-out’ workers.
“The mobility of this group – some of whom originate from or travel through countries with endemic measles transmission and other infectious diseases that are uncommon in Australia – exposes them to a greater risk of acquiring and transmitting infections.
“Previous immunisation history of these workers should be routinely reviewed prior to deployment, and immunisation against relevant diseases such as measles and influenza should be recommended.
“This will help to maintain a healthy and productive workforce and also reduce the risk of transmission to the wider community.”
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