SYDNEY — The world’s worst-case scenario of a new vaccine for the measles virus has emerged, with the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare warning of a “near-certain” spread of the virus in NSW.
The agency’s chief executive, Dr. Michael O’Sullivan, told ABC Radio Sydney that “the likelihood is quite high” of NSW becoming the second state in Australia to experience an outbreak of measles.
“The likelihood is there that we are going to be the second, third, fourth state that is going to get an outbreak like this, in terms of a very significant number of cases,” he said.
“The fact that it is in New South Wales, it is the third state in the country, it would be the third worst-affected state in terms, if you were to say, ‘This is the state we should be in, let’s try to get rid of this,'” he said, adding that he hoped the outbreak would be contained quickly.
“This is a very serious situation, and I think the government needs to be very careful,” he added.
The first outbreak in Australia, in the United States, was linked to Disneyland, but no other states have been directly hit by the virus.
The new coronavirus cases are “highly variable” and could continue for weeks or even months, according to the AIB.
“It’s a very good thing to be able to have that certainty, but it’s a really good thing not to have the possibility of the transmission occurring in a way that is not quite as predictable,” Dr. O’Connell said.
He added that the situation could be “worse than we’ve seen” in the past, when the virus spread quickly through Disneyland and other venues.
The AIB said it would continue to monitor the situation in New England and other states.
“We are not going to let up, and we are monitoring it, and our concern is it is going in a very dangerous direction,” Dr O’Neill said.
“I think we’re in a really, really dangerous place.”
The agency has been closely monitoring the spread of measles in New York City and other U.S. states, and said it had seen “the most dramatic increases” in cases and deaths in New Hampshire and Pennsylvania.
The virus is spreading rapidly in New Zealand, with a number of hospitals reporting a spike in cases in the capital, Wellington, and some areas of Sydney.
A government advisory on the coronaviruses warned of an “urgent need” to increase vaccine uptake.
“If we don’t do something, we’re going to have a very, very high number of people infected with this virus in the next year,” the advisory said.
In a report released Friday, the AIA warned that an increase in cases could be expected in the U.K., the Netherlands, France, Spain, Italy, Austria and Greece.