“The patient has been in quarantine following contact with a confirmed case out of the region. However, there is a period of time before entering quarantine when the patient was infectious. Close contacts during this time are being asked about their vaccination status to determine if they are at risk of developing measles.
Dr Weir advised people that measles is a highly infectious disease, so anyone who isn’t immune is at risk if they come in to contact with the disease. “It spreads from person to person through the air from breathing, coughing and sneezing, and contact with those secretions. The disease is contagious from just before symptoms begin until about five days after onset of the rash. The illness usually starts between 10 and 14 days after contact with the measles virus.”
Symptoms of measles include: fever, runny nose, cough, and sore red eyes. After three to five days a rash appears on the head and spreads down the body.
Vaccination is the best way for people to protect themselves against measles, and is available from your General Practice. Dr Weir said getting vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself and your community. “As measles cases continue to be confirmed around the country, it is particularly timely that you ensure you have received your Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine.”
The Ministry of Health have recently issued national advice about MMR vaccination. The current emphasis is to ensure the national immunisation schedule continues on track and children receive their free routine MMR immunisations on time at 15 months and 4 years of age. The priority is for people, especially children, who have not been vaccinated at all to get vaccinated. One dose of vaccine is effective in 95% of people. After two doses, more than 99% people are protected.
People who would like a second MMR vaccine are being asked to be patient, so those with no vaccinations can get immunised first and our medical centres can focus their services on those who need it most.
Children are routinely vaccinated at 15 months and four years, and need both MMR vaccinations to gain full immunity from measles.
Anyone who thinks they may have measles should stay away from work, school or public places.
If you think you might have measles, it is recommended that you contact your GP (by phone first) or Healthline on 0800 611 116 for more advice. It is important that you tell your GP that you think you might have measles before going in to the practice.