Measles continues to spread in the Waikato. This outbreak has been going for over 13 weeks and the numbers of people with measles continues to increase.
We have new confirmed cases in students who were infectious while attending both Morrinsville Intermediate and Morrinsville David Street Schools. Both schools have been notified, advising all staff and students who are not immune to measles (see below regarding who is not immune to measles) that they must stay at home in quarantine until Thursday 7 July (for Morrinsville Intermediate) and until Monday 11 July for David Street School.
Quarantine means people who are in home isolation need to remain at home and away from school/work, group and social activities, sports and recreation events and public places such as cinemas, grocery stores and shopping malls.
There was also a measles case who was infective while playing netball at Minogue Park Courts in Hamilton on Saturday the 25 June. All affected schools have been notified and parents advised to check the immunisation status of their children and be on the look out for symptoms of measles (detailed below).
Waikato District Health Board’s Public Health Service, Population Health, has to date (30 June 2016) been notified of 51 confirmed cases of measles, and are investigating a further 12 potential cases. Ten cases have been hospitalised since the outbreak began in early April.
“We have a high number of cases which have required hospitalisation, which illustrates the seriousness of this outbreak.” said Waikato DHB medical officer of health Dr Richard Vipond.
“So it’s timely to remind people again of the signs and symptoms of measles and to check their own as well as their child’s immunity status.”
DHB Maori Health Service public health physician Dr Nina Scott is concerned that there are a high number of Maori with measles.
“Many people who have caught measles have only received some of their scheduled vaccinations.” said Dr Scott.
“The best thing people can do to protect themselves and their whanau/family from catching this easily spread and dangerous disease is to get up to date with vaccinations.”
Vaccination is free for all children and adults who do not have documentation of two MMR vaccines. Vaccination is your best protection from getting measles and from spreading it to others in your whanau and community. If you are not up to date, or not sure, check with your GP and get a vaccine if needed.
Waikato schools have been made aware about the outbreak and what actions would be required if there is a case of measles in their school. Sports clubs, or other clubs holding events, need to be aware of measles in the community and let people know that they should not attend sporting events/practices if they have been in contact with someone with measles, unless their vaccination status is up to date.
Measles can be very serious. If you or your child becomes unwell please phone your GP or call Healthline on 0800 611 116 for advice. People need to phone ahead before going to a doctor’s office or to an emergency department, because if they do have measles they might infect other people.
People who are regarded as not immune to measles are:
- People born after 01 January 1969 who have not had two doses of the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine or have not had a laboratory result showing immunity
- Children over four years old who have not received their second dose of MMR vaccine
- Infants under the age of 15 months who have not received their first routine dose of MMR vaccine. They are susceptible and rely on everyone else to be immune so that measles does not spread to them
How to protect you and your family/whanau against measles:
- Find out your vaccination status and the vaccination status of others in your household. You can find this information at the GP you are enrolled with or your plunket book.
- If you or your children and family members are not up to date with immunisations, phone your GP to get vaccinations completed. It is the best way to provide protection against a number of diseases and complications.
- Measles can’t be treated once you get it, so the only way to prevent the disease is through immunisation.
The time delay from being exposed to measles to developing symptoms is usually 8 -14 days, but can be up to 21 days. The typical symptoms of measles are:
- The first symptoms are a fever, and one or more symptoms of a runny nose, cough and sore red eyes
- After a few days a red blotchy rash comes on and lasts up to one week. The rash usually starts on the face and spreads to the rest of the body
- Children and adults with measles are often very sick.
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