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25 Latest News Articles
Friday 23 March, 2018
Auckland Regional Public Health Service (ARPHS) is pleased with a community win from its opposition to a new off-licence application in South Auckland.

ARPHS Clinical Director Dr Julia Peters says Public Health, Police and Auckland Council opposed the application for a fifth bottle store within one kilometre radius of the proposed premise. The location was to be in one of the most deprived areas of Auckland.

"We applaud the decision by the applicant not to proceed. Our argument before the District Licensing Agency was very strong. The proposed location of the store would have been close to schools, early childhood centres and medical facilities.

"Our opposition, however, was mostly around adding yet another liquor outlet to a community identified as experiencing high levels of alcohol related harm," Dr Peters says.

In this case it appears that the business listened to the community’s voice and to concerned agencies. Next time ARPHS is hoping the District Licensing Agency will also take heed. "We would like the Agency to take notice of the health implications and the depth of local feeling when considering new applications in areas already saturated with bottle stores. This hasn’t been our experience in the last five years of the new liquor laws," Dr Peters says.

Counties Manukau District Maori Council spokesperson David (Rawiri) Ratu is pleased that a Māori voice has been conveyed to the District Licensing Agency through the opposition, and that the right outcome has been achieved for Maori.

For further comment from David (Rawiri) Ratu phone 0278 333 350.
Tuesday 13 March, 2018
The Auckland Regional Public Health Service (ARPHS) has confirmed a second case of measles. It is likely this person has caught the disease on flight SQ285 which landed in Auckland on 22 February 2018.

The latest case is an AUT student and ARPHS is working closely with AUT to determine the immunity of those people who have been in classes with the individual while infectious. Anyone who has been in contact with the student and is not immune is required to stay at home in quarantine to prevent the disease spreading.  

It is likely other people around the central business district from March 1 – 6 and the Albany Westfield shopping centre from March 6 between 12 pm - 4 pm may have been exposed to the disease when the student was walking around.  

“I urge Aucklanders to protect themselves against measles by getting vaccinated with two doses of the MMR vaccine.  The vaccine is free from your GP.  Please phone your general practice to discuss whether your vaccinations are up to date.

“Measles is very easily transmitted through coughing, sneezing or simply walking past someone who is infected and breathing their contaminated air. If one person has measles, 90% of the people close to that person who are not immune will also become infected,” says ARPHS Medical Officer of Health Dr Josephine Herman.

Measles is a highly infectious disease which can have serious complications.  Anyone born before 1969 is likely to be immune to the disease without having had the vaccine.

Symptoms of measles include a runny nose, cough, sore eyes, fever, a raised red rash that starts on the face and spreads to the body.  If you have symptoms immediately visit your GP or call Healthline for advice on 0800 611 116.

Find out more about measles here

Original media release: Measles alert for Singapore Airlines flight here

Wednesday 07 March, 2018

If you live in Ōtāhuhu or surrounding areas, take precautionary measures to prevent breathing in smoke.

Households in the affected area, down-wind of the fire, should close windows, doors and ventilation systems. Anyone who remains in the vicinity is advised to keep out of the smoke.

If you have health concerns, call Healthline at 0800 611 116 or seek medical assistance.

» Read more information here

Wednesday 28 February, 2018
Travellers who arrived at Auckland International Airport on Singapore Airlines flight SQ285 from Singapore at 11.45am on February 22 may have been exposed to measles, says the Auckland Regional Public Health Service (ARPHS).

Medical Officer of Health Dr Michael Hale says passengers in rows 31 to 49 were closest to the measles case and are at highest risk, but anyone on the flight should watch out for symptoms.
Dr Hale says symptoms may appear tomorrow or over the next eight days. 

“If anyone who may have been exposed knows they don’t have immunity to measles they can be vaccinated, and that could prevent the symptoms developing,” he says.

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 develops. 

Passengers feeling unwell should telephone their doctor before visiting the practice, or call Healthline on 0800 611-116 for advice. 

ARPHS is attempting to contact people seated close to the case. The service is checking whether these passengers are susceptible to measles infection, and offering advice which includes further immunisation, or possibly isolation to avoid spreading the disease. 

“Although passengers in rows 31 to 49 are most exposed, there’s a possibility that anyone on the flight, around the flight gate or baggage claim at this time, could have been infected.

“It is very easily transmitted from one person to another, possibly just from walking past the passenger with measles, or while sitting near them in the airport gate lounge,” says Dr Hale.
Measles is a serious illness. One in 10 people with measles need hospital treatment and the most serious cases can result in deafness or swelling of the brain. Dr Hale says measles is infectious before the rash appears and is one of the most infectious airborne diseases. 

“The only way to protect from measles and the best way to avoid its complications is to be fully vaccinated. Anyone born before 1969 is likely to be immune to the disease without having had the vaccine."
Thursday 21 December, 2017
With dengue fever outbreaks across the Pacific, Auckland Regional Public Health Service (ARPHS) is advising anyone travelling to the region to take steps to avoid mosquito bites.

Auckland has seen a spike in dengue fever cases with 70 percent of cases from Samoa in the last two months.

Medical Officer of Health Dr Denise Barnfather urges anyone travelling to these countries where dengue fever occurs, particularly Samoa, to exercise caution.

“Dengue fever can be a severe illness. Those who travel to Pacific countries frequently are at risk of repeat infections with different strains of the dengue virus. This can lead to dengue haemorrhagic fever, which can be fatal.” 

Symptoms of dengue fever include the sudden onset of fever for two to seven days, intense headache, muscle and joint pain, nausea, vomiting and skin rash.  People who develop dengue haemorrhagic fever may also develop symptoms of bleeding such as bruising and nose bleeds, and internal bleeding can also occur.  

There is no vaccine currently available in the Pacific for dengue fever; nor does vitamin B prevent mosquito bites. The only way to prevent infection, says Dr Barnfather, is to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes. 

“Although the commonest time for bites is early morning and late afternoon, dengue-carrying mosquitoes also bite all through the day.” 

Take precautions to ensure you avoid being bitten. 


• Use screens on doors and windows. 
• Use insect sprays. 
• Use mosquito coils. 
• Use a mosquito net over your bed at night. You can spray this with insecticide if you wish. 
• Turn on air conditioning if you have it – this is very effective at keeping mosquitoes out of a room.


• Wear a repellent cream or spray containing less than 35% diethyltoluamide (DEET). High concentrations are no more effective and can be harmful.  Products containing 20-25% picaridin or 30% lemon eucalyptus oil can also be used.
• When using sunscreen, apply repellent over the top of sunscreen.
• Wear light coloured protective clothing such as long-sleeved shirts, long pants and hats. Clothing can be treated with repellent. 

Dr Barnfather says anyone returning from overseas with dengue symptoms, or feeling generally unwell, should contact their GP or Healthline and let them know where they travelled. Paracetamol is recommended rather than aspirin, as aspirin can increase the risk of bleeding from dengue infection.

New Zealand mosquitoes do not carry dengue virus, and it is not spread person to person. Despite this, says Dr Barnfather, “dengue is not a disease you want to bring home. By taking precautions, you can reduce the risk of infection and have a more enjoyable trip.”


More information on Dengue Fever can be found here.
More information from the Ministry of Health on avoiding mosquito bites can be found here

For media enquiries please phone ARPHS communications staff on 021 243 2421
Tuesday 19 December, 2017

Barbecues, family feasts and outdoor eating go with the territory during the Christmas holidays – unfortunately so do the rates of gastroenteritis reported to public health.

“Summer is the ideal breeding ground for bacteria. No one wants food poisoning for Christmas - it could also ruin your family holiday. What’s even worse is that it is entirely preventable.” says Medical Officer of Health Dr David Sinclair from Auckland Regional Public Health Service.

Be food-wise and check out Dr Sinclair’s Q&A’s for Christmas meat-eaters during the festive season.

Why does summer make people so vulnerable to food poisoning?

Hot summer temperatures, especially during a heatwave are a breeding ground for bacteria like campylobacter and salmonella. These bacteria contaminate food and multiply in warm, moist conditions, which is exactly why meat is the ideal carrier for bacteria.

What is the highest risk food?

Meat-eaters need to be cautious, especially if you love chicken. Chicken carries the highest risk of any food for contamination and should be cooked until there is no pink flesh visible right down the middle.

What precautions should we be taking for barbecuing and picnics?

Ensure food that is outdoors remains in the shade and is covered and cool until ready to cook or eat. We recommend using a chilly-bin with icepacks for keeping meat cold. Precook chicken, meat patties and sausages before barbecuing. Cooking with a barbecue makes it difficult to gauge the temperature so a meat thermometer is a good idea and a handy Christmas present too.

How can we minimise the risk when preparing food?

Wash and dry your hands before and after handling food. Use one chopping board and set of utensils for raw meat and another set for cooked food. Follow the 4 Cs’ to minimise the risk of food borne illness - Clean, Cook, Cover, and Chill. If you are unwell do not handle food for other people.

What advice can you give when cooking meat?

Defrost frozen foods before cooking. Minced meat and sausages should be cooked right through and pork and poultry juices should run clear with no visible pink flesh.

How should we be storing meat?

Raw meat and chicken should be wrapped to stop drips and stored away from other foods ideally on the bottom shelf of the fridge. Ensure your fridge temperature is 2-4 ⁰C.

What about the leftovers?

Cover and refrigerate leftovers as soon as possible. Throw out any meat products that have been left at room temperature for more than two hours.

Enjoy a safe and healthy holiday season. If you are unwell or concerned about your health, please visit your doctor or call the nurses at Healthline for advice on 0800-611-116 (Healthline is open 24 hours, seven days a week).


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