Medical Officer of Health Michael Hale has confirmed a measles alert for various locations in central Auckland and Newmarket.
People who have visited these locations at these times are likely to be exposed to the disease and if they are not immune could get measles.
If people are infected they will likely experience symptoms from 7 days after exposure to the disease. The first symptoms are a fever, and one or more of a runny nose, cough and sore red eyes. After a few days a red blotchy rash starts on the face and spreads to the rest of the body.
“People who are feeling unwell and have visited these locations at the times suggested should immediately telephone their doctor or Healthline on 0800-611-116 for advice. It is very important to phone in advance because measles is highly infectious and you could infect other people in the medical waiting room,” says Dr Michael Hale.
The illness is infectious before the rash appears and is easily transmitted. If you are not immune you can contract the disease by walking past an infected person or by being next to them in a lift, café or waiting room.
People who visited these locations during the specified times will need to stay at home in isolation for 14 days after exposure to the disease if:
· They are unsure about their measles immunity and haven’t had a blood test to confirm their immune status
Those in isolation should remain at home and call Healthline or their doctor for further advice. They cannot visit other people and should stay away from public places, events, social activities and school/work environments.
People are considered immune:
· If they have received two doses of MMR vaccine and/or
· If they have previous measles illness and/or
· If they are born before 1969
People who have only had one dose of MMR vaccine should see their doctor for a free second dose.
“My plea is that people follow medical instructions if they are required to be in isolation. For everyone else it’s a timely reminder to check their immunisations are up-to-date. Measles cannot be treated once you get it so the only way to protect yourself is to be fully vaccinated,” says Dr Michael Hale.
“People tend to underestimate measles – the reality is it can be a nasty disease causing serious long term health complications,” says Dr Michael Hale.