A nurse holds a vial of measles, mumps and rubella vaccine at Boston Children's Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts February 26, 2015. Reuters/Brian Snyder

After a man infected with measles travelled from Bangkok to Launceston via Melbourne, Tasmanian health authorities had to issue a warning of a potential measles outbreak. Now, health authorities in Tasmania have confirmed three more cases of measles. They were exposed to the illness at Launceston General Hospital’s emergency department.

Dr. Mark Veitch, acting director of Public Health, said that the three new cases show how infectious measles is to people who are not vaccinated. He warned of further spread of the disease and urged people to be aware of measles symptoms. The affected patients have been administered measles vaccine where possible in order to boost their immunity.

“It behoves people if they think that over the weekend they may have contracted measles, if they have a fever, cough or conjunctivitis, a blotchy rash, to ring ahead to their doctor or the emergency department. [Then] the medical staff can prepare to assess those patients safely because measles is highly infectious,” Australian Medical Association state president Tim Greenaway told the ABC.

Greenaway said that as measles is a very harmful disease, it must be taken seriously. Moreover, it may prove to be fatal for young people and pregnant women. Brain inflammations as a result of measles may cause permanent brain damage. Those with weak immune systems are most vulnerable. They may develop infections in the brains and lungs.

It is important for all Tasmanians to get vaccinated against the highly contagious disease. Health experts said that people who are above 50 years of age have little risk from measles as most of them had it in childhood. Greenaway also spoke of booster doses to stay safe.

“Particularly if you're in your late teens through to your late 40s, and you're not sure if you've had two doses of a measles containing vaccine it's a good idea to see your general practitioner to get a booster to be sure,” Greenaway added.

Clinics and doctors should be notified beforehand so that they can take necessary steps to admit patients infected with measles virus. Emergency departments and general practitioners have already been notified of a possible surge in measles cases over the next two weeks. No cases of measles were recorded in 2015.