Measles Alert for Schools and Early Childhood Centres
As the majority of children head into the term one school holidays, it is important to remind parents to be mindful of the risks of measles.
Over the past week, there have been five confirmed cases of measles reported in Queenstown, Wanaka, Canterbury, and Nelson-Marlborough, and other cases are possible, including elsewhere in New Zealand.
Measles is a serious and highly infectious disease, and these new cases show how easily it can spread.
Families/whanau are encouraged to make sure they are fully immunised against measles and be aware of measles symptoms if they (or their children) are not fully immunised.
Immunisation is the best protection to stop you and your children getting measles. For the best protection, people need to have two MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccinations. The MMR is available from your family practice and is free to eligible people.
With the school holidays coming up, parents should be mindful that families and children could be exposed to measles, especially if they are travelling, attending events, holiday programmes, camps, or have friends and family travelling to visit them.
Anyone who is not immunised and gets exposed to a case of measles will need to stay home for at least 14 days to ensure the virus doesn’t spread.
Anyone who suspects they may have measles should avoid contact with other people, especially those who aren’t fully immunised, and should phone their GP, or call Healthline on 0800 611 116 for advice.
It is important to call your GP first because measles is highly infectious, and people with measles can infect others in the waiting room.
Further information can be found at www.health.govt.nz/measles or by calling 0800 IMMUNE.
Dr Raman Pink
Medical Officer of Health – Canterbury District Health Board