Third case of measles confirmed in Taranaki
21 August 2019
Taranaki DHB is strongly urging people to check their immunisation status following a confirmation of another case of measles in Taranaki.
Taranaki DHB medical officer of health, Dr Jonathan Jarman, says a 21 year old unvaccinated New Plymouth woman is the latest case of measles; the third in Taranaki in the last six weeks.
Dr Jarman confirms, “We have been unable to determine the source of the infection. It doesn’t appear that she had contact with either of the previous two cases in Taranaki.”
The Taranaki Public Health Unit are currently following up with people who are known to have been in contact with the case, but Dr Jarman says people who are fully vaccinated have nothing to fear from measles.
“Vaccination is highly effective and provides 95 percent immunity after one injection and 99 percent after two.
“I can’t stress enough the importance of being vaccinated against this preventable disease. I strongly urge the Taranaki community to ensure they have received both doses of the required measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine; this is everyone’s best protection.”
Dr Jarman believes Taranaki as a community needs to achieve “public protection.” This means immunisation coverage of 95% is needed to help shield the population from serious diseases, like measles.
“Measles is highly infectious and spreads through unvaccinated people. When you vaccinate your child, you're also protecting the people around them, including those who can’t be vaccinated and those who have compromised immunity (e.g. people receiving cancer treatment),” says Dr Jarman.
Once again the public is being reminded that measles is a severe illness where one in ten people need to be hospitalised. It is highly contagious due to being an airborne disease. As well as developing a rash people can suffer from a range of symptoms, including very high temperatures and a hacking cough that lasts for one to two weeks.
If you or anyone you know develops symptoms of measles, please stay at home and call Healthline (0800 611 116) or your doctor to alert them of the illness. It is important to give your doctor advance warning before turning up to a clinic with measles to prevent infecting others in the waiting room.
For more information about measles visit www.tdhb.org.nz
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Last updated: Wednesday, 21 August, 2019