News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search


International measles outbreaks prompt call for vaccination

The Ministry of Health is reminding travellers to make sure they are immunised against measles following outbreaks overseas.

Outbreaks have recently been reported in the Philippines and in parts of Europe.

Since 2012, all cases of measles in New Zealand came from travellers bringing the disease from overseas.

Since the beginning of this year, New Zealand has seen an increase in measles cases with 18 cases reported. All of these cases followed a measles case imported from overseas. There are currently three on-going outbreaks, two in the Waikato and a new one in Christchurch.

The Ministry’s Director of Public Health Dr Caroline McElnay says the concern comes when the disease is brought into the country.

“Approximately 90% of children under 13 years old are fully immunised with two doses of MMR vaccine. However, only about 80% of teenagers and young adults have received the full course of the vaccine and are vulnerable to catching measles.”

"As a result, there are often outbreaks occurring in this older age group and there is a risk that measles becomes established in New Zealand again.”

"That’s why it’s so important people travelling overseas make sure they are fully immunised against measles before they go,” says Dr McElnay.

“This will protect them from getting measles and reduce the risk of bringing measles back into this country."

“In particular, the Ministry’s clinicians are recommending infants aged 6-15 months travelling to countries where there is a current measles outbreak be given MMR vaccine before they travel.”

“Children who have not yet been immunised are at greatest risk of the disease. While measles immunisation is usually given at age 15 months and 4 years in New Zealand, it’s important to stress the MMR vaccine is safe to give to children as young as 6 months. “

"What’s more, the MMR vaccination is free.”

"Two doses of MMR vaccine gives long-lasting immunity, protecting at least 95% of people.

Dr McElnay says many teenagers and young adults have missed one or both doses of the vaccine, and may be unaware that they are not immune.

“If you’re not sure whether your vaccination is up to date, you can check in with your general practice. If you can’t remember and end up inadvertently getting a third MMR dose, that’s okay too. It’s safe.”

The Ministry has also released an advisory to health professionals urging practices to be alert to the possibility of measles among patients who have recently travelled.

© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Tuia - Encounters 250: Te Papa Acquires Rare Painting Of Cook's Voyage

Te Papa announced today it has purchased William Hodges’ Waterfall in Dusky Bay with Maori Canoe for New Zealand’s national art collection. More>>

Resene Eighth Annual Architecture & Design Film Festival

This year’s line-up will showcase the most acclaimed and current films in architecture and design, including documentaries on this century’s finest architects, super stars in the design field and movements for environmental change. More>>

Filthy Rich Scores American Remake

New Zealand drama Filthy Rich has been green-lit for a US remake by Fox network starring Sex and the City’s Kim Cattrall… A pilot episode shot in New Orleans earlier this year also saw Kim Cattrall in the starring role, based on the character played by Miriama Smith in NZ. More>>

Ockhams: ‘Urgently Relevant’ Novel Wins NZ’s Richest Literary Award

Dame Fiona Kidman has won this year’s $53,000 Acorn Foundation Fiction Prize at the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards for her novel, This Mortal Boy, a work described by the judges as ‘moving, memorable, authentic and urgently relevant to our times.’ More>>


Comedy Festival: The Comedy Festival Is On

Binge on almost a full month of comedic delights, as the NZ International Comedy Festival runs from 2-26/5 in Auckland and Wellington. More>>




  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland