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Two cases of measles identified in Auckland region

NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Wednesday, 13 March 2019, 3:27PM
It comes after an outbreak in Canterbury. (Photo / Getty)
It comes after an outbreak in Canterbury. (Photo / Getty)

Aucklanders are being told to be alert to possible measles symptoms with two cases identified in the region this month.

This comes as Canterbury struggles to contain an outbreak which has already seen at least 25 people infected by the highly contagious and dangerous disease.

Auckland Regional Public Health Service medical officer of health Dr William Rainger said the organisation had been notified of a young adult and an infant who both had measles and could have spread them to others they came into contact with.

The adult was at an event at the Life Central Church.

People at the Wesley market on the morning of Friday March 8 may have also been exposed to the disease because the infant was at the International Women's Day event there.

Rainger said anyone who was in any of those locations at the time should be aware that they may have been in contact with the airborne virus and needed to watch for symptoms - a high fever, runny nose, cough and sore red eyes, followed by a rash starting around the head and spreading to the body.

The public health service was tracing all household, work and social contacts of the two cases to check immunity, discuss quarantine and monitor the appearance of any symptoms, he said.

The two cases were not considered to be linked to any cases in the Canterbury outbreak. Auckland had its first case of measles this year 10 days ago.

"Our practice of communicating with all contacts, quarantining those who are not immune and checking for symptoms daily reduces the risk of transmission in the community at large," Rainger said.

If you felt unwell and suspected it might measles, you should call your medical practice first and warn them so you do not expose other patients to the illness, he said.

"Measles is one of the most contagious airborne diseases and is infectious before the rash appears. It is very easily transmitted from one person to another, possibly by being the same space where an infected person has been."

Many young people in the region were not fully immunised, and people born after 1969 and before 1992 would have received only one MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine. Those people were entitled to the second MMR dose free of charge, although a practice nurse fee may apply. You can be immunised at any time if you have missed your two vaccinations.

While children are immunised at 15 months and four years with the MMR vaccine, the Ministry of Health recommended that infants aged 6-15 months travelling to countries where there was a current measles outbreak be given the MMR vaccine before they travelled.

For more information or advice on measles, please call Healthline on 0800 611 116 or see the Auckland Regional Public Health Service website.

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