Fifth measles case confirmed in Canterbury

Friday 1 March 2019Media release3 minutes to read

Three cases of measles have been confirmed in Canterbury in the past four days

A fifth case of measles has been confirmed in Canterbury

A fifth measles case has been confirmed in Canterbury – a pre-schooler from Rangiora. Four of the five confirmed cases are from Rangiora.

Medical Officer of Health Dr Ramon Pink says this highlights the need for younger members of our community to have their scheduled vaccinations on time, and their whānau need to be fully immunised as welll.

“The measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine, which protects against measles, should be received at 15 months and four years according to the Ministry of Health’s national immunisation schedule.

“If you have had two MMR vaccinations or were born before 1969, you are considered immune to measles,” Dr Pink says.

“People who were born between 1969 and 1990 will have had a single dose of measles vaccine. Current recommendations are for two doses of the MMR vaccine to give the best protection against measles.

People born overseas who are unsure which vaccinations they might have had, should contact their general practice team for advice. The measles vaccine and the appointment to have it is free to all those who are eligible for funded healthcare in New Zealand.

“Measles is a serious, potentially life-threatening disease. It is extremely infectious and is spread easily through tiny droplets a cough or sneeze,” Dr Pink says.

“There is no cure,” says Dr Pink “which is why it’s vital that you protect yourself and those around you by making sure you have had two doses of the MMR vaccine, without delay.

“As the numbers of confirmed cases climb, the risk of getting measles increases for those not immunised,” Dr Pink says.

Anyone with measles symptoms or who believes they may have been exposed, can contact their usual general practice team 24/7 for additional advice. Calls made after hours will be answered by a nurse who will advise you what to do and where to go if you need to be seen.

More information about measles is available at https://www.health.govt.nz/your-health/conditions-and-treatments/diseases-and-illnesses/measles.

ENDS

Measles Fact Sheet

  • Measles is a highly infectious viral illness spread by contact with respiratory secretions through coughing and sneezing
  • Symptoms of measles include: 
    • A respiratory type of illness with dry cough, runny nose, headache
    • Temperature over 38.5 C and feeling very unwell
    • A red blotchy rash starts on day 4-5 of the illness usually on the face and moves to the chest and arms.
  • People are infectious from five days before the onset of the rash to five days after the rash starts.
  • Infected persons should stay in isolation – staying home from school or work – during this time.
  • The best protection from measles is to have two MMR vaccinations. MMR is available from your family practice and is free to eligible persons.
  • People are considered immune if they have received two doses of MMR vaccine, have had a measles illness previously, or were born before 1969.
  • Anyone believing they have been exposed to measles or exhibiting symptoms, should notgo to the ED or after hours’ clinic or general practitioner. Instead call your GP any time, 24/7 for free health advice.

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Page last updated: 14 March 2019

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