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Measles warning issued in Christchurch

Measles warning issued in Christchurch

The Canterbury District Health Board’s Community and Public Health team has issued a measles warning after a man who attended Christchurch Hospital’s Emergency Department has since been confirmed as having the measles virus.

The 30 year-old man was in the Emergency Department on Sunday 28 January 2018, and patients and visitors who are not fully vaccinated with MMR and were in the department or the waiting room at any time after 1pm are being urged to contact their own General Practice team and get vaccinated urgently.

Staff who were in the area at the time are also being notified. People born before 1969 are considered immune and need not get vaccinated.

Canterbury Medical Officer of Health Dr Alistair Humphrey 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. Complications include pneumonia, inflammation of the brain and damage to the eyes.”

It can take up to 3 weeks for symptoms to appear, and people who were in the Emergency Department after 1pm on Sunday 28 January are being urged to phone their own family doctor/general practice team 24/7 for #carearoundtheclock if they are concerned. If it’s after-hours a nurse will answer the call and advise what to do and where to go if you need to be seen.

“Measles cannot be treated once you get it so the only way to protect yourself is to be fully vaccinated,” says Dr Humphrey. “People are only considered immune if they have received two doses of MMR vaccine and/or have had a measles illness previously and/or were born before 1969.”

Further information on measles can be found here.

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