First confirmed measles case in Taranaki

27 June 2014

Taranaki DHB Medical Officer of Health, Dr Greg Simmons said today that Taranaki has a confirmed case of measles .

 “Measles is a nasty and very infectious illness and anyone who is not immune to measles is at risk if they come in to contact with the disease. It spreads from person to person through the air from breathing, coughing and sneezing, and direct contact with secretions.  The disease is contagious from just before symptoms begin until about four days after onset of the rash.  The illness usually starts between 10 and 14 days after contact with the measles virus,” said Dr Simmons.

The Public Health Unit  is advising those who have come into close contact with measles and are not vaccinated or immune from a previous measles infection to stay at home for two weeks after their last contact with the case. Those who are not fully immunised for their age group have been advised to complete their immunisations.

“Now is the time to consider if you are immune to measles or not. I urge people to ensure they are fully immunised as this is the best way for people to protect themselves against measles and it is free to those who need it,” said Dr Simmons. “You can protect both yourself and the community by getting immunised,” he added.

“If you think you may have measles you should stay away from work, school or public places to help prevent putting others at risk. Measles symptoms include fever, runny nose, cough, and sore red eyes. After 3-5 days a rash appears on the head and spreads down the body. If you think you might have measles, contact your doctor or Healthline on 0800 611116 for more advice,” said Dr Simmons.

For every 100 cases of measles, approximately 17 will need hospital treatment, 10 will get an ear infection and 5 will get pneumonia .

 “This case is not a total surprise given the significant number of measles cases elsewhere in New Zealand and the highly infectious nature of the disease. Since December 2013, there have been over 200 confirmed measles cases
reported in New Zealand. More local cases are certainly possible ,” said Dr Simmons.

As at the end of May 2014, 82% of Taranaki 5 year olds were fully immunised. If measles epidemics are to be prevented over 90% need to be fully immunised,” said Dr Simmons.

For more information please call

Cressida Gates-Thompson
Media Adviser
Ph. 027 707 6177

 

Last updated: Monday, June 30, 2014

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