FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, 4 July 2011
Measles Outbreak Cases Continue to Rise in Auckland
The latest update on measles cases is now at a total of 48 as at this afternoon. Those numbers may rise during the week.
Auckland Regional Public Health Service (ARPHS) Medical Officer of Health, Dr Richard Hoskins, says it is important to stress that measles is a serious and highly infectious disease that make people, including infants, very sick.
“The only way to stop you catching measles is getting immunised. The vaccination is funded for children, young people and unimmunised adults.”
“These new cases have been in several early childhood centres and we are now working with those centres to quarantine susceptible contacts at home in case they develop measles,” says Dr Hoskins.
“We strongly advise all children receive two doses of the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine at 15 months and 4 years. We also strongly advise catch up vaccinations for adolescents and adults who have had either none, or only one dose, of the MMR vaccine – particularly if they are intending to travel overseas."
ARPHS advises that common symptoms of measles include a runny nose, cough, sore eyes and fever, followed by a raised red rash that starts on the face and moves to cover the rest of the body.
“Anyone displaying symptoms of measles should immediately telephone their doctor, or Healthline on 0800 611 116, for advice. It is important to call first because measles is highly infectious and people with it can infect others in the waiting room,” says Dr Hoskins.
“Prompt identification can help limit the spread of measles to others, particularly vulnerable groups within the community,” says Dr Hoskins.
Note to editors
Dr Richard Hoskins will not be available today for interviews. He will be available tomorrow morning (Tuesday).
If you think you or someone in your care has measles
Prompt identification can help limit the spread of measles to others. If you or anyone in your care displays common symptoms such as a runny nose, cough, sore eyes and fever, followed by a raised red rash that starts on the face and moves to cover the rest of the body, seek immediate medical help – contact Healthline on 0800 611 116 or your local doctor. Phone ahead before
visiting a doctor to minimise the spread of infection to others in the waiting room.
It is also important that if you suspect you may have measles, or you have had contact with someone suspected to have measles and you are not immune, that you remain in isolation to limit the spread of the disease.
How do I know if I’m immune?
People born before 1969 or who have received two doses of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine (MMR) or who have had measles in the past are considered to be immune.
Immunisation is the only effective way to protect against the disease. If you or any children in your care are not up to date with immunisations, then contact your GP or practice nurse and arrange to catch up as soon as possible. MMR is given in two doses, normally at 15 months and 4 years of age giving over 95% protection. However, it’s never too late to get immunised.
More information on immunisation
For information on immunisation, phone the Immunisation Advisory Centre free on 0800 IMMUNE (0800 466 863) or visit them at www.immune.org.nz.
Call Healthline for free health advice
Healthline (0800 611 116) is a free 24-hour telephone health information service. The service is staffed by registered nurses who will assess your health needs, and give information and advice to help you decide on the best level of care.
Healthline’s Language Line operates Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm. When you call Healthline during these hours, the nurse or call handler can usually arrange for an interpreter. Outside these hours Healthline uses other interpreter services as far as possible. It is not always possible to locate an interpreter in a particular language at short notice.