Measles update: Bay of Plenty and Lakes

Press Release – Bay Of Plenty DHB

Toi Te Ora – Public Health Service can now confirm that there have been 10 cases of measles across the Bay of Plenty and Lakes areas since early October. The majority of the cases have been in Tauranga and Rotorua, and measles is likely to spread within …11 November 2011

Measles update: Bay of Plenty and Lakes

Toi Te Ora – Public Health Service can now confirm that there have been 10 cases of measles across the Bay of Plenty and Lakes areas since early October. The majority of the cases have been in Tauranga and Rotorua, and measles is likely to spread within the region. There have been over 400 confirmed cases of measles to date in New Zealand this year and at least 70 of these have required hospital treatment.

Toi Te Ora – Public Health Service is following up a number of people who have been in close contact with recent measles cases. People identified as ‘contacts’ who are not immunised are required to stay away from work or school for 14 days to ensure that they don’t inadvertently spread measles should they become ill.

To help prevent measles from spreading further within our communities, the Medical Officer of Health is urging people to ensure they and their families are protected from measles. “Measles immunisation provides effective protection and the vaccine is free for children and adults,” says Dr Neil de Wet, Medical Officer of Health.

Because of the current outbreak of measles, babies from 12 months of age can go to their family doctor or practice nurse for their first dose of the MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella) vaccine. “Once a baby has the vaccine at 12 months of age, the second dose of MMR vaccine can be given 28 days later,” says Dr de Wet. “This also applies to older children, teenagers and adults – if you have missed your scheduled immunisation or you’re not immunised, contact your family doctor or practice nurse,” says Dr de Wet.

People born before 1 January 1969 are likely to be immune because measles used to be quite common. “For everyone born after 1 January 1969 it is important to ensure that you have received the two doses of MMR vaccine. It’s never too late to catch up,” says Dr de Wet.

“MMR immunisation uptake has increased in the Bay of Plenty and Lakes region over the last couple of weeks and we would like to thank and acknowledge the people who have had immunisations recently to protect themselves, their family and their community from measles,” says Dr de Wet.

Measles usually begins with a runny nose, fever, cough 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. Complications include diarrhoea, ear infections and pneumonia, and more rarely, brain inflammation,” says Dr de Wet.

To help limit the spread of measles 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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