Medical Officer of Health, Dr Rob Weir said: “The MidCentral Public Health Service (PHS) has been receiving information on the vaccination status of the staff and students from Waiopehu College and Levin Intermediate School since last Friday.
This information is being divided into three groups:
1. People who have provided evidence of being fully immunised
2. People who have provided evidence that they are not fully immunised
3. People who have not provided any evidence to date.”
From the records received so far, approximately 86% have evidence of being fully vaccinated and have been able to return to school.
The school populations have been informed of methods to determine their vaccination status which include Plunket Book/Well child book or print out of vaccination status from their GP.
Dr Weir said: “Those people who have not been able to provide evidence of immunity to date have been asked to stay in isolation until late this Friday (27 May). Isolation means staying at home during this time period.”
Dr Weir said: “We have been highly appreciative of the cooperation received from the community on this matter. The aim of the actions taken is to minimise the risk of ongoing spread of measles within the community. Measles is highly infectious and approximately 10% of people with measles are admitted to hospital so adherence to these steps is important. Being fully up to date with the MMR vaccine is the best method of prevention.”
Dr Weir reminded people: “Measles 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 (but can occur from 7 days after contact with the 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.
Routinely children are vaccinated at 15 months and four years and need both MMR vaccinations to gain full immunity from measles.
At this point there have not been any further confirmed cases of measles in the MidCentral DHB area since the initial three cases confirmed last week in the Levin area.
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 or any health care organisation that you think you might have measles before going in.”
Contact: Communications Unit (06) 350-8945