Queensland Health issue Rubella alert

HEALTH ALERT: Queensland Health has been notified of a case of Rubella virus, with the patient having travelled on international and domestic flights.

Queensland’s Acting Director of Communicable Diseases Dr Alun Richards said this person travelled from South Africa to Brisbane via Sydney at the beginning of their infectious period but appeared well during the flights.

The patient flew from Johannesburg to Sydney on 25 December 2013 at 1750 arriving at 1445 on Qantas Flight 64.


They then travelled from Sydney to Brisbane on 26 December on flight Qantas flight 542 departing Sydney at 1735 and arriving in Brisbane at 1805. They may also have been in contact with other interstate passengers at the Brisbane airport.

Dr Richards said people are encouraged to notify their family and friends if they travelled on the flights noted above.

“In most cases, Rubella (also known as the German Measles) is a mild illness, but it can be a serious disease if contracted by pregnant women as it can cause serious birth defects if infection occurs during early pregnancy,” he said.

“We normally see about six cases of Rubella per year, so it is not a common disease anymore.

“This is a timely reminder for people to get vaccinated against Rubella as this case demonstrates this virus is still circulating in our community,” Dr Richards said.

The symptoms of Rubella will appear between 14 to 21 days after exposure and they include fever, headache, loss of appetite and feeling generally unwell about five days before the development of a rash.

The rash normally lasts between three to five days.

It is a highly contagious disease and spread by droplets from the nose and throat through coughing or sneezing or by direct contact with an infected person.

People displaying Rubella symptoms should contact their doctor immediately. They should also stay away from childcare, school or work until fully recovered and until at least four days after the rash appears.