Horowhenua District Mayor Brendan Duffy has urged residents in his district who have been put in isolation because of the highly infectious measles outbreak, to stay at home in isolation as requested.
His call follows medical advice from MidCentral’s Medical Officer of Health Dr Rob Weir who is concerned that some people asked to go into home isolation to prevent further spread of measles have not done so, putting more people at risk and adding to disruption to schools and community activities.
There have now been 16 confirmed cases of measles in the MidCentral District, and three further suspect cases under investigation.
Dr Weir said: “The current measles outbreak is very serious. Around 16 percent of people infected with measles in the current outbreak affecting New Zealand have needed hospital-level care. Severe chest infections commonly result from measles, and more serious complications such as brain infections are also possible. Permanent brain damage or even deaths can result.
“We need as much help as possible from the community to stop this outbreak spreading in Horowhenua and further afield. If you, or people in your family, have been asked to go into home isolation, please follow those instructions.”
Mr Duffy said people should stay at home for the short period of time they are asked to. “Yes, in some cases you may not be able to hang around with friends, go shopping, go to the movies, or food places. But, they (the medical people) are not telling people to stay in isolation for fun. Measles is a serious infectious disease. It can be easily spread, can have serious medical consequences, and can impact communities as we have seen over recent weeks.
“Please, I urge you to follow instructions from medical staff when put in isolation. Not only does it stay you possibly spreading the disease, it also protects the most vulnerable to the disease, including babies too young to be vaccinated, people with weak immune systems, and pregnant women.
Contact: Communications Unit (06) 350-8945