MEDIA RELEASES

Confirmed case of measles in Northland: Northlanders urged to get vaccinated

A case of Measles has been confirmed in the Kaeo area. The person had participated in the national Kapa Haka event at Claudelands Events Centre, in the Waikato on the 16 April 2016.

Northland DHB medical officer of health Dr Virginia McLaughlin says there have been at least eleven confirmed cases in Waikato demonstrating how highly infectious measles can be.

“Measles is highly-infectious and if children are not immunised there is a very high chance they will get sick if exposed to someone with measles.”

Dr McLaughlin advises Northlanders to ensure their families are protected from measles.

“People who are regarded as not immune to measles are those born after 01 January 1969 who have not had two doses of the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine or have not had a laboratory result showing immunity.

“Children over four years old who have not received their second dose of MMR vaccine and those infants under the age of 15 months who have not received their first routine dose of MMR vaccine.”

Measles is spread by tiny droplets in the air and is very infectious, easily spreading to those nearby. The first symptoms (fever, cough, runny nose and red eyes) can be mistaken for a cold, with the rash (appearing on the face and neck and spreading over the body) three to five days later.

“Measles can be a very serious illness, with one in three sufferers experiencing complications such as ear infections, pneumonia, bronchitis or diarrhoea,” says Dr McLaughlin.

She reiterates that immunisation is the best protection from this potentially serious disease.

“This is an avoidable disease where there is an effective vaccine. Immunisation protects, not only the individual, but also stops the spread of this disease within our communities.

“Please double-check that your child is not at risk and catch up on any missed vaccinations. Vaccination is a much better option than having a very sick child at home for a couple of weeks.”

Dr McLaughlin recommends that the first MMR be given at 12 months while measles is present in the community. A second MMR can be given a month later, to ensure maximal protection.

Unimmunised people who have had contact with a person with measles, will normally be advised to stay at home and away from all public places, school or work for 14 days after their contact.

“Anyone born before 1969 or who has received two doses of MMR can reasonably assume they are already immune.”

Dr McLaughlin says anyone displaying the symptoms of measles stated above should immediately telephone their doctor or Healthline on 0800 611 116 for advice.



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