Don’t let measles ruin your holiday

Plane shape formed by bacterial growth in a petri dish held by a gloved hand.

The Christmas and New Year holidays are fast approaching. You may have an overseas trip planned and be counting down to the day you jet off to an exotic location.

However measles is currently spreading in popular holiday destinations so there is cause for extra vigilance when travelling overseas this summer.

Canterbury Medical Officer of Health Dr Ramon Pink says we are currently measles-free in Canterbury and we’d like to keep it that way. People should avoid bringing unwanted illness back home from their holidays.

“If you’re travelling to Samoa, Tonga, the Philippines or Fiji and you’re aged under 50, check that your vaccinations are up to date to prevent becoming unwell while on holiday, and risking bringing measles back to Canterbury.

“Measles vaccinations are free for those aged under 50 who are travelling to an area where there is a measles outbreak” says Dr Pink.

Over the Christmas and New Year break many friends and relatives will visit our region, so it is important to make sure your whānau and those visiting are immunised too.

Dr Pink says vaccination is the best protection against measles. “This is especially important for children who haven’t had their MMR vaccinations – scheduled at 15 months and four years. These children, and those travelling to an area where this is an outbreak are currently top priority for vaccination,” says Dr Pink.

The measles vaccination takes up to two weeks to provide protection, so don’t leave it until the last minute. Call your general practice team and check whether you and your family are all up to date with your vaccinations before you travel this summer.

Anyone with measles symptoms or who believes they may have been exposed, can contact their usual general practice 24/7 for additional advice, no matter where they are. If people call their GP team after hours they can be put through to a nurse who can provide free health advice and advise what to do.

Source: Canterbury District Health Board media release (12th December 2019).

Published on Thursday, December 12th, 2019, under Uncategorised
Page last updated: 13/01/2020

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