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Work continuing to manage measles outbreak

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Test results received back this afternoon confirmed one further case of measles. This case attended Lollipops Educare Levin. MidCentral’s Public Health Service has been working with Lollipops staff and following up with contacts to prevent further spread.

​As vaccination records for this age group are stored within the National Immunisation Register (NIR) it will be a quicker process to establish which children have been vaccinated. Those who have not been immunised, or are too young to be immunised, have been asked to stay in isolation for 14 days from their last contact.

Dr Rob Weir, Medical Officer of Health is emphasising the importance of continued support for isolation efforts.

He said: “Since this outbreak began, we have had fantastic support from the community in Horowhenua, and it is great to see that people are taking the situation seriously. Given the time it takes for measles to incubate and begin showing symptoms, there is the potential for this situation to continue for some time. 

“We don’t want people to worry unnecessarily about this situation, as the initial work done to isolate contacts has kept this fairly confined to specific groups, but it is important to remain on alert for any potential symptoms. As this continues, we will ensure everyone is updated, and continue to support individuals, families and community groups as necessary.”

“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 this could be as short as 7 days after contact.”

“Vaccination is the best way to prevent spread of measles and future outbreaks. Those born after 1 January 1969 and who have not received two doses of MMR vaccine (if aged over four) should seek vaccination from their primary care doctor or nurse. MMR vaccine and its administration is free for those who need it. Those who are unsure whether they have been vaccinated can receive a further dose without any concerns.”

Measles is extremely infectious and remains in the air for up to two hours after a contagious person has been in a room. Early 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: “Anyone who thinks they may have measles should stay away from work, school or public places.”

If you think you might have measles contact your GP (by phone first) or Healthline on 0800 611 116 for more advice. It is very important to tell your GP or any health care organisation by phone that you think you might have measles, before you attend in person. This will help them to help you better and to protect others in the waiting room.

Contact: Communications Unit (06) 350-8945

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