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120208 - A second Measles strike for Northland

A six month old girl in Whangarei has been confirmed by Medical Officer of Health, Dr Jonathan Jarman with Measles. This is the second notified case in Northland this year, last month a 17 year old Bay of Islands woman was diagnosed with the disease.

The child had been identified as a possible contact to the measles case in January and had been provided information by public health staff.

Northland’s medical officer of health Dr Jonathan Jarman said, “In this case, the parents knew what to look out for.”

The child has not been hospitalised and is recovering at home with her family.

“Unfortunately a large number of people were potentially exposed to the disease in several different parts of Northland before the child developed the measles rash.”

Dr Jarman said that he was very worried that there will be more cases.

“Measles is very infectious. The virus will keep spreading until it runs out of people who are not immune. On average a person with measles will spread it to 13 others if they are not immune.”

“By far the easiest way to get immunity is through vaccination.”

“I am urging not only caregivers to check that their children have been vaccinated against measles, but – older children, teenagers and younger adults can get measles too. Immunisation is free for adults under the age of 43.”

Common complications of measles include ear infections, diarrhoea and pneumonia and because measles is a severe illness it is important for caregivers to seek medical advice if their children become sick. One in six people need to be hospitalised because of complications.

Measles starts like a flu-like illness but it steadily gets worse with a high fever, red eyes and cough. The characteristic rash appears after several days. It is extremely infectious, so please phone ahead to your doctor to ensure the safety of other patients and surgery staff.

“If your child or someday you know is sick seek advice from your doctor or practice nurse, or call Healthline on 0800 611 116.”

Symptoms of Measles:
  • High Fever 
  • Hacking Cough 
  • Red Eyes 
  • Running Nose 
  • Rash
  • Initially presents like a ‘flu-like illness’ but then gets worse
  • Rash appears 3-4 days after initial symptoms
  • Ear infections, diarrhoea, and/or pneumonia are also possible
  • Most children take one to two weeks to recover.
More information about immunisation and the National Immunisation Schedule and a measles factsheet is available at www.moh.govt.nz/immuniation.

The Immunisation Advisory Centre offers independent advice about immunisation through its toll-free line 0800 IMMUNE (0800 466 863) and at its website www.immune.org.nz.

Ends.



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