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School closed after suspect measles case reported in Horowhenua

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Levin East School will close tomorrow after a suspect measles case was reported to MidCentral Public Health Service.

​Medical Officer of Health, Dr Rob Weir said: “The MidCentral Public Health Service is following up on contacts of the latest suspect case. Those contacts are being assessed to determine if they are at risk of developing measles themselves.” 

Dr Weir said: “The situation was discussed with the school. Information on the immunity status of staff and students is being obtained. Those people identified as non-immune will be asked to stay in isolation until they can either prove their immunity or laboratory testing indicates this suspect case does not have measles. The school determined it was most practical to close the school on Friday while information about immunity status was being obtained. We recognise there will be disruption to the school and the community, but we are doing everything possible in conjunction with the school to stop it spreading.”

Dr Weir reminded people: “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. 

“These cases remind us 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. 

Routinely children are vaccinated at 15 months and four years and need both MMR vaccinations to gain full immunity from measles.”

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 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

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