SYDNEY, Oct. 4 (Xinhua) -- Australia's New South Wales (NSW) is experiencing the state's worst measles epidemic in 14 years and people need to protect themselves and get vaccinated, the NSW Ministry of Health (NSW Health) warned Thursday.
A total of 145 cases have been reported state-wide in 2012, including 54 cases diagnosed in September, NSW Health said.
NSW Health Director for Health Protection Jeremy McAnulty said Thursday that the state's single largest measles outbreak in more than a decade has spread to the Illawarra region of Sydney after initially being confined to Western and South Western Sydney. "Anyone with symptoms of measles should not to go school, work or go out in public,"he said in a statement.
Symptoms include fever, lethargy, runny nose, moist cough and sore eyes followed by a blotchy red rash.
Measles is extremely contagious but is preventable through vaccination, McAnulty said. "We need everyone aged between 1 year and 47 years vaccinated," he said.
NSW Health is offering free vaccine at special clinics which have been established in the Campbelltown area.