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NSW Public Health Bulletin archive

The effectiveness of prophylaxis for measles contacts in NSW Volume 20 Issue 5-6

Vicky Sheppeard, Bradley Forssman, Mark J. Ferson, Conrad Moreira, Sue Campbell-Lloyd, Dominic E. Dwyer, Jeremy M. McAnulty

New South Wales Public Health Bulletin 20(6) 81–85 Published online: 24 June 2009

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About the author/s

Vicky Sheppeard

Bradley Forssman

Mark J. Ferson

Conrad Moreira

Sue Campbell-Lloyd

Dominic E. Dwyer

Jeremy M. McAnulty


Objectives: As international estimates of the effectiveness of post-exposure prophylaxis of measles vary, we sought to determine the effectiveness of post-exposure prophylaxis with either vaccine or immunoglobulin in susceptible persons with known measles contact. Methods: Data were obtained on all cases of measles notified in NSW between 1 March and 31 May 2006 and their contacts. The effectiveness of prophylaxis was calculated using the cohort method. Results: During March to May 2006, 57 cases of measles were notified and 1760 measles contacts were identified, of which 553 were classified as susceptible. The calculated effectiveness of post-exposure prophylaxis with vaccine or immunoglobulin in preventing measles was 83.3% (95% CI: 27–96%). Conclusion: Post-exposure immunisation remains an effective tool for preventing secondary cases of measles.