Medical Officer of Health, Dr Rob Weir says “MidCentral DHB had its first case of laboratory confirmed measles since 2011 earlier this week.
“The MidCentral Public Health Service has acted to minimise the risk of further spread. These actions have included advising those close contacts that are not vaccinated or immune from previous measles infection to stay at home for 2 weeks after last exposure to the case.”
Dr Weir said: “Measles is a very infectious disease so anyone who is not immune to measles 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.”
Measles symptoms include: fever, runny nose, cough, and sore red eyes. After 3-5 days a rash appears on the head and spreads down the body.
Dr Weir said: “For every 1000 cases of measles, approximately 100 will need hospital treatment, 100 will develop an ear infection and 50 will progress to pneumonia.
“This case is a reminder that measles can occur at any time. Vaccination is the best way for people to protect themselves against measles and is free to those who need it. You can protect both yourself and the community by getting vaccinated.”
Dr Weir said: “Anyone who thinks they may have measles should stay away from work, school or public places. If you think you might have measles I recommend you contact your GP (by phone first) or Healthline on 0800 611116 for more advice. It is very important you tell your GP that you think you might have measles before going in to the surgery.
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