Measles continues to be a concern for our community

Press Release – Bay Of Plenty DHB

The first two locally acquired cases of measles can be confirmed this week in the Bay of Plenty area. Contacts have been identified and advised as appropriate by public health.12 October 2011

Measles continues to be a concern for our community

The first two locally acquired cases of measles can be confirmed this week in the Bay of Plenty area. Contacts have been identified and advised as appropriate by public health.

“This confirms that the measles virus is in our community, and I would like to remind people that the best way for us to avoid further cases of this potentially serious infection is for everyone to ask themselves – is my family protected?” says Dr Jim Miller, Medical Officer of Health.

“School holidays can be a convenient time for many families to catch up with their immunisations. Measles immunisation provides effective protection and the vaccine is completely free for children and adults. MMR is given in two doses, normally at 15 months and 4 years of age,” says Dr Jim Miller.

People born before 1969 are likely to be immune because measles used to be quite common but those born from 1969 onwards who are unsure of their immunity should check with their doctor.

“Contact your family doctor or practice nurse if you or your child need to be immunised – it’s never too late to catch up,” says Dr Miller.

Measles usually begins with a runny nose, fever and sore eyes. This is followed by a red, blotchy rash that usually starts on the face and spreads to the rest of the body. “Measles is highly infectious and complications are quite common. These include diarrhoea, ear infections and, more seriously, pneumonia and brain inflammation,” says Dr Miller.

Knowing what to do if you suspect you or someone in the family has measles can help limit spread to others. If you think your child or someone in your family may have measles; stay at home and phone your doctor or Healthline on 0800 611 116 for advice.

For more information:

• Toi Te Ora – Public Health Service website: www.toiteorapublichealth.govt.nz/measles
• Immunisation Advisory Centre toll-free phone line 0800 IMMUNE (0800 466 863)
• Immunisation Advisory Centre website: www.immune.org.nz
• Ministry of Health website: www.moh.govt.nz/immunisation

ENDS

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