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Protect you and your family from measles

MEDIA RELEASE
Protect you and your family from measles

The number of confirmed cases of measles in the Taupo/Turangi area remains at 10 and public health authorities continue to work to identify people who may have been in contact with those affected.

To help prevent the spread of measles in the community the local Medical Officer of Health, Dr Phil Shoemack is urging parents to ensure that their children are up to date with their immunisations.

“With families travelling around New Zealand and overseas these summer holidays, it’s important to ensure that you and your children are up to date with immunisations in general and MMR (measles, mumps and rubella vaccine) in particular. Measles immunisation provides effective protection and the vaccine is completely free for children and adults. MMR is given in two doses, normally at 15 months and 4 years of age,” says Dr Shoemack.

People born before 1969 are likely to be immune because measles used to be quite common but those born from 1969 onwards who are unsure of their immunity should check with their doctor.

“Contact your family doctor or practice nurse if you or your child need to be immunised – it’s never too late to catch up,” says Dr Shoemack.

Measles usually begins with a runny nose, fever and sore eyes. This is followed by a red, blotchy rash that usually starts on the face and spreads to the rest of the body. “Measles is highly infectious and complications are quite common. These include diarrhoea, ear infections and, more seriously, pneumonia and brain inflammation,” says Dr Shoemack.

Knowing what to do if you suspect you or someone in the family has measles can help limit spread to others. If you think your child or someone in your family may have measles; stay at home and phone your doctor or Healthline on 0800 611 116 for advice.

For more information:
• Toi Te Ora - Public Health Service website: www.ttophs.govt.nz/measles
• Immunisation Advisory Centre toll-free phone line 0800 IMMUNE (0800 466 863)
• Immunisation Advisory Centre website: www.immune.org.nz
• Ministry of Health website: www.moh.govt.nz/immunisation

ENDS

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