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Tens of thousands exposed to measles traced to a Filipino man

Jan. 4, 2014 at 2:09 AM   |   Comments

SYDNEY, Jan. 4 (UPI) -- Measles, traced to a man at a hip-hop dance competition in Sydney, spread across Australia and overseas, leaving tens of thousands exposed, officials say.

Public health officials in Australia and New Zealand Health Authorities told the Sydney Morning Herald a Filipino man who had flu-like symptoms competed at the 2013 World Supremacy Battlegrounds, an international hip-hop dance competition attended by more than 2,000 at the Sydney Olympic Park Sports Centre in Homebush Dec. 7-8.

A 10-year-old girl in Adelaide, who had been at the competition, was next to fall ill, then a woman in Auckland, another in Sydney and nine more in Turangi and Taupo in New Zealand -- six had not been to the competition, but knew someone who had.

Later, a 21-year-old man from Melbourne, who had attended the dance competition, fell ill, but his symptoms emerged after he had spent Boxing Day -- the day after Christmas -- amid throngs of people taking advantage of Christmas sales at the city's busiest shopping center.

Tony Battone, vice president of the Australian Medical Association in Victoria, said measles is very contagious and if someone sneezed a person who had never had measles or had not been properly vaccinated would most likely become infected.

Throughout the hip-hop dance event, competitors in teams of 10 or more rehearsed together backstage and competition organizers also had all 900 performers sit together in the stands at Sydney Olympic Park Sports Centre to watch the others. The measles incubation period is 10 to 18 days.

Public health officials traced the disease to a competitor from a Manila dance troupe, FMD Xtreme, whose management said turned up at the competition with flu-like symptoms, but still performed.

They gave him cold and flu tablets but his rash didn't appear until after Dec. 11 -- after the competition, the dance troupe said.

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