There have now been five cases of measles in the Bay of Plenty region in the past month. “This most recent case does not appear to be linked to the group of cases related to the Mount Maunganui area,” says Dr Jim Miller, Medical Officer of Health for Toi Te Ora Public Health.
“GPs and residents are now on the alert so we have also received four other reports of possible measles which we are currently investigating,” says Dr Miller.
Check your immunity
Immunisation is the best protection from measles. The vaccine that protects against measles is the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine.
“It’s important that parents ensure that their children receive their free routine MMR immunisations on time at 15 months and 4 years of age,” says Dr Miller.
If you have never had a dose of MMR vaccine now is the time to get one. MMR vaccine is highly effective. After one dose of MMR vaccine about 95% of people are protected from measles, and 99% of people who have had both doses are protected from measles.
It is particularly important to check your immunity if you are planning an overseas trip. The Ministry of Health recently highlighted that since 2012, all cases of measles in New Zealand came from travellers bringing the disease from overseas and that there are significant measles outbreaks in many countries.
People born before 1 January 1969 are likely to be immune because measles used to be quite common and so this older age group does not need measles immunisation.
Call for advice or call ahead
“If you think you or someone in your family may have measles, stay at home and phone your doctor to alert them of your symptoms and allow them to make arrangements to assess you safely and without infecting other people, or call Healthline on 0800 611 116 for advice.”
For more information:
- Toi Te Ora Public Health website: www.toiteora.govt.nz/measles
- Immunisation Advisory Centre free phone: 0800 IMMUNE (0800 466 863)
- Immunisation Advisory Centre website: www.immune.org.nz
- Ministry of Health 2019 measles outbreak information: www.health.govt.nz/your-health/conditions-and-treatments/diseases-and-illnesses/measles/2019-measles-outbreak-information
- Ministry of Health website: www.health.govt.nz/measles
- Don’t Assume You’re Immune website: www.getimmunised.org.nz
Image caption: Dr Jim Miller says it’s important that parents ensure that their children receive their routine MMR immunisations on time at 15 months and 4 years of age.E
For more information, contact:
Debbie Phillips, Communications Advisor
Ph: 07 577 3793 Mob: 021 791 814
Notes to journalist
Measles is a highly infectious viral illness and is spread from person to person through the air by breathing, sneezing or coughing. Just being in the same room as someone with measles can lead to infection if you are not immune. Measles can be serious with around one in ten people who get measles needing to be hospitalised.
The first early symptoms of measles are fever, runny nose, sore red eyes and cough. After three to five days a red, blotchy rash appears on the face and head and then spreads down the body.