With 128 confirmed cases of measles now confirmed across the Northland Region the DHB urges parents and caregivers to ensure that their families are protected against measles before the Christmas holidays.
There have been 45 cases in the Far North, 15 cases in the Kaipara and 68 cases in the Whangarei area. Children and young people aged between 1 and 24 have been the most affected by this preventable disease.
“In the last month there have been 13 new cases from one school cluster with an additional 16 associated secondary cases mostly in households,” said Northland medical officer of health, Dr Catherine Jackson.
“This demonstrates how highly infectious measles are and if you are not immunised or immune then the chances of catching measles is incredibly high.”
Please make sure your pēpi are immunised against measles. Immunisation provides the best possible protection against diseases such measles, both for children and the people in contact with them.
“Over the Christmas break many friends and relatives visit Northland so it is important to make sure your whānau are immunised and those who are visiting are also.”
“If you have been in contact with someone with measles, public health will advise you to stay at home and away from other people for two weeks from the date you were last exposed. This is because people with measles are infectious for a few days before they get sick, and because the early signs of infection are very like the start of a cold or the flu. It is never much fun being in isolation especially while everyone else is enjoying the summer break.”
Given the outbreaks of measles in Samoa, Tonga, Philippines and Fiji, the Ministry of Health asks that all vaccinations are up-to-date for any individual (aged 50 and under) who indicates they will be travelling to one of these areas, or any country that has an active outbreak of measles.
They also recommend infants aged six to 11 months travelling to an outbreak area have one dose of MMR. Please remember that any child vaccinated before 12 months of age will still need two further doses of MMR.
“It takes two weeks for your immunity to build after you are immunised so it is important to be vaccinated at least two weeks before you travel. Getting immunised now will give your children protection over Christmas and the school holidays.”
People who aren’t immune and have early symptoms of measles (fever, cough, runny nose, sore eyes and/or a rash) should not travel.
Measles is a highly infectious airborne disease that spreads easily through the air via coughing and sneezing.
If you have been exposed to measles and start to feel unwell, call Healthline on 0800 611 116 for advice and information in the first instance.
Some people get very unwell with measles, if you need to see a doctor please call ahead to your GP or the emergency department so they can prepare for your arrival.
Vaccination with the MMR vaccine offers the best protection against measles. One dose will prevent measles in 95 percent of people, while having two doses will protect 99 percent of people who have the vaccine.
FREE drop-in clinic for children and adults under 30 years of age. Note – the Kaitaia clinic is now closed and Whangarei is one day a week - you can call 0800 466 738 to find out how we can help you get immunised.
MMR Immunisation Priorities
Visit your GP, a community clinic in Whangarei or call 0800 466 738 if you need immunisation but do not live near available clinics or are unable to access one.
For further information, please contact:
Paula Martin, Communications Officer
Phone 09 4304101 extn 60519