No further measles cases have been identified today, but there is still the potential for further cases to be identified.
There have been six measles cases identified at IPU New Zealand, and it is not known where the outbreak originated from. At this stage it is not possible to exclude an overseas origin for the outbreak. The initial suspected cases were notified to public health by a general practitioner.
Medical Officer of Health, Dr Rob Weir said: “In response to these cases the MidCentral Public Health Service has been working closely with IPU New Zealand to put in place measures to contain and prevent the spread of the disease.”
“Those infected have been placed in quarantine, and non-immune contacts of the cases have been put into isolation. We have also started to run vaccination clinics at IPU to help people get up-to-date with their immunity if they are not already. All people identified as contacts are being offered free vaccinations, regardless of their eligibility to publicly funded health care, for this outbreak.
“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.
“Measles can occur at any time, and it is important that everyone is vaccinated against this disease. In New Zealand for people eligible for publicly funded health care both the vaccine and the appointment to receive it is free for anyone born after 1969 – people born before that date are considered to be immune, as they were most likely exposed to the virus. In order to arrange you or your family’s vaccination please contact your general practice team or 0800 IMMUNE (0800 466 863) for more information on the vaccine.”
Dr Weir said: “It is very important that 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 611 116 for more advice. It is very important you tell your GP that you think you might have measles before going in to the surgery.
Contact: Communications Unit (06) 350-8945