Fifteen measles cases now confirmed in Canterbury
Up to 7 March, there have been fifteen confirmed cases of measles in Canterbury. It is likely there will be more cases in the next days and weeks.
It is likely measles is spreading in our community.
If you were born or raised in New Zealand after 1 Jan 1969 and you had two MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccinations, you are protected from measles.
People in their late teens and early 20s are most at risk. Anyone in this age group who does not know if they have had both MMRs vaccinations should contact their General Practice team (GP or family doctor or nurse) to arrange for an MMR vaccination – the vaccination and the appointment to have it is free.
Babies whose mother is immune will have some protection if they are currently being breastfed.
For children who are too young to have had both MMRs or who cannot be immunised for other reasons, the best way to protect them is to ensure everyone around them has been vaccinated – if you can’t get it, you can’t pass it on.
People with children under older than 12 months and under 4 years can ask their general practice team if their child can have their MMR early – they can have the first MMR as early as 12 months and the second one month later. Due to the temporary delays in vaccine supply in the region we are asking parents to be patient until more stock arrives – more is on its way.
Anyone who isn’t sure if they have had both MMR vaccinations can contact their general practice team for advice.
If you think you may have been exposed to measles or have symptoms, please call your general practice first, at any time, 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Calls made to general practices after hours will be answered by a nurse who will advise you what to do and where to go if you need to be seen.
If you are sick, stay at home and avoid contact with anyone who isn’t immune.
Additional measles information
Measles is serious and highly infectious. Thirty percent of those who catch it will develop complications – usually children under 5 and adults over the age of 20. Measles during pregnancy increases the risk of miscarriage, premature labour and low birth-weight in babies. Measles is spread through breath and through contact, so that anyone unprotected who has been in the same room as someone with measles will likely get it.
Measles symptoms include:
o A respiratory type of illness with dry cough, runny nose, headache
o Temperature over 38.5 C and feeling very unwell
o A red blotchy rash starts on day 4-5 of the illness usually on the face and moves to the chest and arms.
More information about measles is available at http://www.immune.org.nz
For more information of Measles please follow the link below: