Issue 14
April 11, 2019
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Measles Outbreak – Information for Health Professionals

Australia is currently experiencing an outbreak of the measles virus. There have been 86 confirmed cases of measles nationally, including 35 cases in NSW.

Two doses of measles containing vaccine provides lifelong protection. Most people born before 1966 will have been exposed to wild measles virus and therefore do not require vaccination. The National Immunisation Program (NIP) now offers two doses to all children at 12 months (as MMR) and 18 months (as MMRV). Vaccination with two doses of measles containing vaccine is successful in providing lifelong protection against measles in 99% of people vaccinated.

A single dose of measles containing vaccine was gradually introduced into immunisation programs in Australia from the late 1960's to the early 1970's. However, the important second dose was not introduced until the 1990's and was at first given in primary school and then moved to a preschool dose. These changes in schedule mean that many adults have unknowingly missed out on one or both doses of measles vaccine and remain susceptible to infection if exposed.

To ensure the population can be protected from measles, NSW provides free MMR to people born during or after 1966, who do not have documented evidence of having received two doses of measles containing vaccine. For adults born before 1966 who are concerned about their immune status, please check serology for immunity. If not immune, and no contraindications, please provide MMR vaccine.

It is safe to receive more than two doses, so if your patient does not have evidence of immunity to measles, and has no contraindications, you can safely provide an MMR vaccine.

Please note that checking serology for immunity is recommended for individuals who are unable to receive the MMR vaccine (pregnant women, immunocompromised or infants under nine months of age) who do not know their immune status.

The MMR vaccine is free of charge to all people with no immunity to measles, regardless of whether they have a Medicare card or not.

Please visit the NSW Health website for further information about the measles virus, prevention and treatment.

Best Practice Training - My Health Record
Tuesday 23rd Apr, 6:30pm - 9:00pm
Keeping an Eye on Diabetes
Tuesday 7th May, 5:30pm - 8:00pm
Medico-Legal Workshop: Privacy, Confidentiality and Data Breaches
Wednesday 8th May, 6:30pm - 9:30pm
Mental Health Professional Network Event
Tuesday 21st May, 6:00pm - 8:30pm

Australian Immunisation Handbook

The Australian Immunisation Handbook is designed to make it easier for providers to access information. Recent changes to the handbook include:

  • Improved printing function, especially for the tables, with the correct ‘date printed’
  • Improved search function
  • ‘Back to Top’ function is now operational
  • ‘Summary’ on the disease chapters being renamed as ‘Overview’
  • Links to product information and consumer medicine information sheets are now available on each vaccine page.

Handbook users are encouraged to provide feedback to the Department of Health to enable its continual improvement.

Survey: Lower Back Pain

Western Sydney University are conducting a survey on the management of nonspecific, acute lower back pain. This survey will help explore management approaches, facilitators and barriers faced by GPs, to inform future training, optimise management, and reduce the burden of this condition. For more information please see the ‘participant information sheet’ in the survey link, or contact Bijan Darabi at

Join our Consumer Advisory Council

WentWest believes health care consumers – patients, carers and their families – are essential partners in creating better health care. We value the knowledge and experience consumers can bring to our work as the WSPHN and our Consumer Advisory Council provides advice to the WentWest Board on matters and issues affecting primary health care consumers.

The Consumer Advisory Council is comprised of members of the western Sydney community and local organisations that represent a range of health consumers in the region.
This includes representing those with a particular health condition such as diabetes or mental illness or representing a demographic group such as migrants and refugees or young people. We are currently seeking expressions of interest for our Consumer Advisory Council. For more information and to apply, visit our website.

GP Association meetings

The following GP Association meetings are coming up in western Sydney:

Mount Druitt: Imaging of the Knee, Friday 26th April.

Hills: Opioids, Addiction and Chronic Pain, Wednesday 1st May.

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