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Measles Alert - a Reminder to Immunise

Waitemata District Health Board 17 January 2014

Measles Alert - a Reminder to Immunise

Parents are being urged to ensure their children’s immunisations are up-to-date following confirmation of a new measles case in Auckland this week.

Measles is a serious infectious disease and immunisation is the best protection offered to children. Two immunisations given at 15 months and four years of age protect against measles, mumps and rubella.

Waitemata DHB CEO Dr Dale Bramley says most children in the Waitemata District are immunised against the disease, but there was concern for those who have never had a measles immunisation and are not protected.

“The only way to protect against measles is to be fully immunised and we strongly encourage parents to make up-to-date immunisation the priority as they return from the summer holidays.

“Two doses of the measles vaccine is all that is required to protect yourself, your family and the wider community from this preventable disease,” says Dr Bramley, a public health physician.

Currently 94 percent of two-year olds living in the Waitemata District have had their first 15- month old measles immunisation. More than 200 children in the region are however overdue.

There are another 320 five-year olds who have only had one measles immunisation and need their second dose at four years for long term protection.

Measles immunisations are available free from your GP for children and adults born after 1969.

Measles is a very infectious viral disease that starts with a high fever and respiratory symptoms (one or more of the following: runny nose, cough, red eyes and small white spots inside the mouth). Three or four days after catching measles a red blotchy rash appears, starting on the neck and face, then spreading over the entire body. The rash is not itchy and fades during the first week.

Measles is more serious in young infants and in older adults, as well as people with low immunity. About 10 percent of cases require admission to hospital.

Parents and caregivers can seek more information on the vaccine from their GP or practice nurse, by phoning the Immunisation Advisory Centre information line 0800 IMMUNE (466 863) or by visiting www.immune.org.nz

Further information on measles is available on the Auckland Regional Public Health Service website: http://www.arphs.govt.nz/health-information/communicable-disease/measles

ENDS

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