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Tenth Case of Measles Confirmed in Northland

26 June, 2019

A tenth case of measles has been confirmed in Northland with six cases currently under investigation.

Public Health Nurses are offering MMR vaccination to the children and staff at the schools they are currently visiting for Boostrix immunisation, with parents being given a consent form to return to school. Children having B4School Checks are also being offered MMR if they are not up to date.

"We know that the MMR coverage of our 11-12-year-olds is around 75 percent, and testing for measles immunity suggests that one in five people in Northland aged 13 and 29 are not immune to measles," offered Dr Catherine Jackson, Medical Officer of Health.

"With school holidays coming up it would be a good idea for parents to make an appointment with their general practice for their teenage children to be vaccinated."

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.

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

"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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