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Measles in the Bay of Plenty and Lakes – Update #8

Since yesterday’s report, there have been no additional cases of measles confirmed in the Bay of Plenty and Lakes districts. The total number of confirmed measles cases since the start of April remains at seventeen.

However, Medical Officer of Heath, Dr Phil Shoemack is anticipating further cases, and is urging the public to remain vigilant and look for the signs and symptoms of measles.

“Contacts of several of our recent cases are likely to develop measles over the next few days as they are unimmunized,” says Dr Shoemack. “There has been significant exposure across both Bay of Plenty and Lakes districts and those who are not immunised are at risk of developing measles.”

“Measles is one of the most infectious viruses so it is important that we try to limit the spread.”

“The first early symptoms of measles are fever, runny nose, sore red eyes and cough, followed a few days later by a rash usually starting on the face before moving down the body. If you think you or someone in your family/whānau may have measles, please stay at home and phone your doctor or Healthline first.” The Healthline number is 0800 611 116.

In particular, we know that while infectious one or more of our cases were at the following places at the stated times. If you, or someone you know, were at these locations during these times, and you are younger than 50 years old and unvaccinated, you are at risk of developing measles:

Location - TaurangaDateTime
Bayfair – TimezoneWednesday 24th AprilMidday to afternoon
Bayfair Shopping Centre (including food court)Thursday 25th April
1pm to mid-afternoon
Tauranga Crossing Shopping Centre (including food court)Thursday 25th April
1pm to mid-afternoon
Tauranga Crossing
Event Cinemas Vmax theatre
‘Avengers Endgame’ movie
Thursday 25th April
The Karma Club Mount MaunganuiFriday 26th AprilLate evening
Location - TaupōDateTime
Starlight Cinema Taupō
‘Shazam’ movie
Wednesday 24th April2pm
EB Games TaupōThursday 25th April
Early to mid-afternoon
Burger King TaupōThursday 25th April
Early to mid-afternoon
Starlight Cinema Taupō
‘Avengers Endgame 3D’ movie
Friday 26th AprilEvening showing
Dixie Browns TaupōFriday 26th April5.30pm – 6.30pm

Check your immunity to measles

Measles is a very infectious viral illness that spreads easily from person to person. It can be serious with about one in ten affected people needing hospital treatment.

The MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine is very effective in preventing measles.

“It’s important that parents ensure their children receive their free routine MMR immunisations on time at 15 months and 4 years of age,” says Dr Shoemack.

“If for any reason you have never had a dose of MMR vaccine now is the time to get one,” says Dr Shoemack. “After just one dose of MMR vaccine about 95% of people will be protected from measles, and 99% of people who have had two MMR doses will be protected from measles.”

People born before 1 January 1969 are considered to be immune because virtually everyone got measles prior to the vaccine being introduced that year, and so this older age group does not need the measles immunisation.

It is particularly important to check your immunity if you are planning an overseas trip. The Ministry of Health recently highlighted that since 2012, all outbreaks of measles in New Zealand were started by travellers bringing the disease from overseas. There are currently significant measles outbreaks in many countries.

For more information:

• Toi Te Ora Public Health website: www.toiteora.govt.nz/measles

• Immunisation Advisory Centre free phone: 0800 IMMUNE (0800 466 863)

• Immunisation Advisory Centre website: www.immune.org.nz

• Ministry of Health 2019 measles outbreak information: www.health.govt.nz/your-health/conditions-and-treatments/diseases-and-illnesses/measles/2019-measles-outbreak-information

• Ministry of Health website: www.health.govt.nz/measles

• Don't Assume You're Immune website: www.getimmunised.org.nz

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