Waikato health officials are advising the public of a measles exposure at an event in Hamilton last weekend. A measles case attended while infectious, a regional Tainui Waka Kapa Haka festival held Saturday 16 April at the Claudelands Event Centre in Hamilton. Around 5,000 attended the national event with attendees from throughout the North Island.
There were 17 Kapa Haka groups competing from the Tainui Waka region in regional competitions. These groups came from areas spanning from Coromandel down to South Waikato including Waikato, Hauraki, Maniapoto and Raukawa.
There are now five measles cases reported to date.
All five cases attended the Waikato Hospital Emergency Department on the Friday 25 March, Monday 4 April, Saturday 9 April, Sunday 17 April and Tuesday 19 April respectively. Two have required hospitalization.
One case has attended Nga Taiatea Wharekura School while infectious.
Health officials advise if you or your child attended this Kapa Haka event you may have been exposed to the measles virus. You should
- Look out for the symptoms of measles for 14 days after the event (until the 30 April 2016). The first symptoms of measles are fever, runny nose, sore runny eyes and cough. The rash starts later.
- Check your immunisation status for measles. If you do not have immunity get vaccinated as soon as possible with the MMR vaccine.
- If you or your family do have the above symptoms phone your GP for advice.
This demonstrates how highly infectious measles can be, (including before symptoms develop) and how seriously ill those infected can become.
People who shared the same air as someone while they were infectious with measles (e.g. being in the same room) may be at risk of developing the disease if they are not already immune.
Measles is a vaccine-preventable disease and anyone who has had at least two doses of the Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccination is considered immune. People most at risk of contracting the disease are those who have either not had the Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR) vaccine, or who have just had one dose of the vaccine.
If you were exposed, there are a number of measles symptoms to look out for. The incubation period for measles is approximately two weeks, meaning it can take up to two weeks from exposure to show symptoms.
The first symptoms of measles are a fever, and one or more of a runny nose, cough and sore red eyes. After a few days a red blotchy rash comes on, usually starting on the face before spreading to the body and lasts up to one week.
Measles can be very serious. If you or your child becomes unwell please phone your GP or call Health line on 0800 611 116 for advice or seek medical attention depending on severity of illness. It is important to call first because measles is highly infectious, and people with measles can infect others around them for example in waiting rooms of GP surgeries or ED. Measles is spread by tiny droplets in the air and is one of the few diseases that can spread so easily to those nearby.