The Auckland Regional Public Health Service (ARPHS) has been notified of a new case of measles and is asking people who may have come in contact with that person to watch out for symptoms.
The infected person visited several public places before they were diagnosed.
Medical Officer of Health Dr Michael Hale is asking members of the public who visited the following locations at the relevant times, and who are unsure of their immune status, to call their doctors’ practice to check.
Saturday 18 March
- Auckland airport’s international check-in area on the ground floor and the public pre-departure area on the first floor, between 5.45pm and 6.45pm
- Silverdale Pak’n’Save, between 7.30pm and 8pm
Sunday 19 March
- Albany Pak’n’Save, between 11am and midday
People born before 1969, or who have had measles, or received two doses of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine (MMR) after their first birthday, are considered immune. Dr Hale says anyone can check their immunisation status by calling their family doctor’s practice.
The best way to prevent measles is through immunisation. New Zealand’s national immunisation schedule provides free MMR vaccinations for all children at 15 months and four years. Two doses of MMR vaccine is at least 97 percent effective in preventing measles.
People born after 1969 who have had only one MMR dose are entitled to the second MMR dose free of charge. Practice nurse fees may apply.
Dr Hale says measles is one of the most highly infectious diseases and the virus is easily spread from person to person through the air via sneezing, coughing or normal breathing.
“Just being in the same room as someone with measles can be enough to catch the infection,” Dr Hale says.
It usually takes 10 to 14 days for someone who has caught measles to start showing symptoms. If any person has been infected at the locations identified above, they may start to develop symptoms from 28 March to 02 April 2017.
Measles usually begins with a high fever, runny nose, cough and sore red eyes, followed by a rash starting behind the ears and spreading to the body a few days later. One in three people with measles will develop complications, such as ear infections, pneumonia, diarrhoea or rarely inflammation of the brain.
Dr Hale says anyone who develops symptoms should keep away from their workplace and public places such as schools, child care, shopping centres or public transport and seek medical advice.
If someone suspects they have measles, Dr Hale says they should call their general practice first. This will allow them to make arrangements to assess them safely.
“Please don’t just turn up at the doctor’s as you could infect people in the waiting room.”
Usually about one in 10 people with measles are hospitalised but the rate of hospitalisation for recent measles outbreaks in Auckland is nearly double.
ARPHS is currently working on identifying people who have been in contact with the infected person and placing those at risk of developing the disease – those who are not immune – in quarantine.