Measles warning issued in Canterbury

Stop sign with the word measles instead of stop.Health officials have issued a measles warning following a Christchurch man being confirmed to have contracted measles while holidaying in Bali.

The 23-year-old became aware of measles-like symptoms and laboratory testing confirmed measles on Thursday 18th May.

Canterbury Medical Officer of Health Dr Ramon Pink says measles is highly infectious. “The measles virus spreads easily from person to person through the air, via breathing, coughing and sneezing. It starts with fever, runny nose, cough, red eyes, and sore throat. This is followed by a rash that spreads over the body,” Dr Pink says.

People who aren’t fully immunised are being asked to keep a close eye out for measles symptoms. People who were in the areas listed below are urged to phone their doctor 24/7 for #carearoundtheclock if they are concerned:

  • Countdown at Northwood on Sunday 14th May (5 to 6pm)
  • Waiting room at ProMed Edgeware on Monday 15th May (11am to 1.15pm) and Tuesday 16th May (11am to 1.15pm)
  • Southern Community Laboratory Blood Test Centre at Forte Health on Monday 15th May (1 to 3pm) and Tuesday 16th May (12noon to 2pm)
  • Christchurch Hospital Emergency Department on Tuesday 16th May (3.45pm to 9pm)

“We’re asking people who haven’t been immunised and who may have been in contact with the case to keep a close eye out for these symptoms. If you develop symptoms phone a doctor and let them know that you have potentially been in contact with a confirmed measles case.”

Dr Pink and the team at Community and Public Health are busy contacting those who may have come into contact with the man to minimise the spread. The case is currently in isolation and his infectious period ends on 21st May.

“Unfortunately New Zealanders face a heightened risk of measles as a result of the decision by parents in the 1990s not to get their children immunised due to now discredited research on the link between the measles vaccine and autism.

“It is a timely reminder for everyone to check their immunisations are up-to-date. Measles cannot be treated once you get it so the only way to protect yourself is to be fully vaccinated. While it’s important to get vaccines on time, every time, it’s never too late. Speak to your doctor for more information on immunisation” Dr Pink says.

You might be immune to measles

Community and Public Health says people are considered immune if they:

  • have received two doses of MMR vaccine; or​
  • have had a previous measles illness; or
  • were born before 1969.

Source: Canterbury DHB media release (18th May 2017).

Published on Friday, May 19th, 2017, under News
Page last updated: 19/05/2017

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