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Measles outbreak concerns disease experts

Infectious disease experts have warned that some Australian communities may be missing out on immunisations following an outbreak of measles in NSW.

The Royal College of Pathologists of Australia (RCPA) has also called on health professionals to be aware of the outbreaks and the need to test for measles, with 71 cases diagnosed in NSW since the start of the year.

RCPA spokeswoman Professor Lyn Gilbert said Australia had almost eliminated measles but in the past few years immunisation rates had fallen in some communities, including Pacific Islanders in Sydney, which had experienced measles outbreaks.

"We also see measles in patients who have migrated to Australia after the recommended age of immunisation," Gilbert said.

While NSW has recorded the highest number of cases this year, 11 people have also fallen victim to the disease in Victoria and four in Queensland.

There have been 89 cases Australia-wide.

Gilbert, who is also the director of the Centre for Infectious Diseases and Microbiology, said more work was needed to increase the uptake of vaccinations and ensure hard-to-reach communities had access to the right information.

"Many of those in underprivileged and migrant communities are still unaware that immunisations are available to them," Gilbert said.


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