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Measles outbreak highlights importance of immunisation

Hon Dr Jonathan Coleman

Minister of Health


30 May 2016 Media Statement
Measles outbreak highlights importance of immunisation

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says the ongoing measles outbreak highlights the importance of being immunised.

The Waikato region is experiencing a significant measles outbreak, and visitors to and from Waikato have led to further measles cases in the Nelson Marlborough, Northland and MidCentral DHB areas.

“Measles is a highly infectious and potentially serious disease. Around 30 per cent of people with measles will develop complications, and 1 in 10 may require hospital treatment,” says Dr Coleman.

“It can affect both children and adults. Low immunisation levels among certain age groups mean outbreaks can spread.

“Measles is now rare in New Zealand thanks to immunisation. The Government has made immunisation a priority and as a result we’ve significantly increased immunisation rates among young babies and children.

“Outbreaks like these are an important reminder for Kiwis to ensure they’re immunised, or to check their immunisation status if they’re unsure.”

Over 400,000 New Zealanders, mostly between the ages of 10 and 29, are at risk of catching measles in an outbreak. Most older and middle aged adults have already been exposed and are immune, and most young children have been vaccinated.

You need two doses of MMR vaccine to be best protected. Anyone born from 1 January 1969 who has not had two vaccine doses is eligible for free vaccination.

More information is available at 0800 IMMUNE (0800 466 863) or Healthline (0800 611 116) and on the Ministry of Health website: www.health.govt.nz

ends

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