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Up-to-date advice needed for overseas travel

Up-to-date advice needed for overseas travel

New Zealand families planning to spend school holidays overseas should ensure they have current travel advice from a knowledgeable professional - their General Practitioner or Travel Medicine Specialist - and that their immunisations are up to date.

The Ministry of Health says families need to be aware of health risks they may face when travelling outside New Zealand.

The Ministry has been advised of an outbreak of measles in Fiji and of cases of Hepatitis A in travellers returning from Samoa and Tonga. To date, more than 90 cases of measles have been confirmed in Fiji. Measles is a highly infectious disease which affects the respiratory system.

Dr Andrea Forde, Senior Advisor Public Health Medicine says "It is really important for travellers to be aware of the diseases they may come into contact with while travelling, whether on holiday or for business, and to take the right precautions to protect themselves. The Pacific Islands are a popular destination, but they are not home. It is wise to seek advice from experienced professionals before travelling to the Pacific or any other destination outside New Zealand. "

Dr Forde says some travel related diseases can be prevented by means of vaccination, but for most people it is more important to have information about how to protect themselves.

"There are diseases - like dengue, or malaria - for which there is no vaccine, and some simple precautions will help prevent infection with bacteria and viruses that cause food and water borne disease -like Hepatitis A or typhoid. "

New Zealand children are routinely immunised against measles when aged 15 months and four years. In 1997 a measles epidemic in New Zealand saw six children die from complications of the disease.

ENDS

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