**** Measles Warning ****

Measles spread in Hamilton June 16 2014

Waikato District Health Board’s Population Health service has to date confirmed 53 measles cases in Hamilton in recent weeks –  “Measles can be a very serious illness, with one in three sufferers experiencing complications such as ear infections, pneumonia, bronchitis or diarrhoea,” said Dr Anita Bell, ,” Waikato DHB Medical Officer of Health.  “While one in 10 on average requires hospitalisation, admission rates in this outbreak have been higher.”  She reiterated that immunisation is the best protection from this potentially serious disease.  “Immunisation protects not only the individual, but also blocks the spread of this disease within our communities.”

Unimmunised people who have had contact with a person with measles, will normally be advised to stay at home and away from all public places, school or work for 14 days after their contact.

What is measles?

  • Measles is a highly infectious viral disease that can be serious.
  • It is spread from person to person through the air by breathing, sneezing or coughing.
  • Just being in the same room as someone with measles can lead to infection if you are not immune.

Who is at risk of measles infection?

  • People are at risk of getting measles if they are not immune to measles. People who are regarded as not immune to measles are:
  • People younger than 45 years old (born after 01 January 1969) who have not had two doses of the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine
  • Infants under the age of 15 months who have not received their first routine dose of MMR vaccine.
  • They are susceptible and rely on everyone else to be immune so that measles does not spread to them.
  • Children over four years old who have not received their second dose of MMR.

What should you do?

  •  Ensure you and your children are up to date with immunisations.
  •  If you are not immune it is important to be aware of the symptoms of measles.
  • The early symptoms of measles are fever, runny nose, sore red eyes and cough.
  • After 3-5 days a red, blotchy rash appears on the face and head and then spreads down the body.

If you develop symptoms of measles:

Stay at home and away from public places (such as sports events, gatherings, parties, school, work, child care, shopping centres, public transport and so on).See your doctor as soon as possible so a diagnosis can be confirmed.

However, phone the surgery ahead to alert them of your symptoms and to allow them to make arrangements to assess you safely and without infecting other people. If you are unable to visit your GP phone Healthline on 0800 611 116.