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Fifth case of measles in Northland

Fifth case of measles in Northland

A fifth case of measles has been confirmed in Northland, resulting in more people being placed into isolation.

"A daycare has been identified in the contact tracing for this latest case. As a result, the Centre has elected to close, and given the impact of the isolation requirements on both staff and families, this is entirely reasonable for this situation. The 14 day isolation period is up to and including Friday 7 June, for those who do not have proof of immunity to measles,” Medical Officer of Health Dr Virginia McLaughlin said.

"We understand the significant impact of isolation. However, this is the only way we can minimise the spread of this highly infectious disease.

"Immunisation is the only way to prevent measles, make no mistake measles can be a severe illness, is easily prevented by vaccination and if you are not immune you will be placed in isolation if required."

Isolation means staying at home and not having visitors who are not immune to measles. That is, not using public transport, going to work, preschool, school, visiting neighbours, friends or family; going to church or other places of worship; social or sports activities; movie theatres, supermarkets and shops etc.

"For those people who have been contacted by our Public Health Nursing team and asked to remain in isolation, please do so, we need your full cooperation and support, to ensure the rest of the community are protected," Dr McLaughlin said.

"We have identified over 100 contacts with the most recent case, and are currently working to find who has or has not got evidence of immunity. Please support your Northland DHB Public Health team and be vaccinated and if you are asked to stay in isolation do so, because they are working hard to keep you all safer!"

People aged 15 months to 50 years who have not previously been vaccinated against measles can be vaccinated at their general practice.

Almost everyone aged 50 or older had measles as a child and are therefore immune. Teenagers and young adults are least likely to have been immunised as young children.

"I can't emphasise enough the importance of everyone getting their immunisations up to date given the recent cases of measles in our community - now is the time to act."

If you're not sure of your vaccination history, you can check you're Well Child/Tamariki Ora (or Plunket) book, or ask your general practice.

The community need to be very aware of the symptoms of measles which start with a fever and cough and runny nose and sore red eyes, and then after three or four days a rash appears on the face and then spreads to the body.

Anyone believing they have been exposed to measles or exhibiting symptoms should not go to the ED, after hours' clinic or general practitioner.

Instead call Healthline free on 0800 611 116 for advice and information from a trusted registered nurse, anytime, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Go to the DHB website www.northlanddhb.org.nz for more information about the signs and symptoms of measles and what to do if you are concerned.

-ENDS-


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