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Measles case in Queenstown

Media Release

Friday 14 October 2016

Measles case in Queenstown – public urged to check they are fully vaccinated

Following the confirmed case of measles in Queenstown on 12 October, Southern DHB/ Public Health South is urging people to check if they’re fully vaccinated for measles.

“We are urging people to ensure they are fully vaccinated with two doses of MMR vaccine as this is the most effective way of preventing illness and preventing the spread of disease,” said Southern DHB Medical Officer of Health, Dr Marion Poore.

“This is a wake-up call for people to check their immunisation history. MMR vaccination is free for anyone born after 1969. If people do not have a record of two MMR vaccinations, they should seek immunisation from their doctor. Adults born before 1969, when measles was widespread, are considered immune and don’t need vaccination.”

Public Health South are advising that parents of small children should continue to work to the immunisation schedule, which has the MMR vaccine at 15 months and 4 years. If the situation changes, the community will be notified of any changes to this advice. If babies or children have not yet had their immunisations, parents are advised to keep them away from people who are sick.

Dr Poore says that “It’s never too late to have the vaccination, so if you’ve not received two doses of the vaccination in the past, or if you’re unsure, contact your family doctor who can tell you what your vaccination status is and can vaccinate you if needed. There’s no harm in receiving an additional dose when there’s any uncertainty whether you’ve been vaccinated.”

In Queenstown, residents who are registered with a medical centre should check with their own doctor if they are unsure whether they are fully vaccinated, and they can get the free vaccination at their own medical centre.

For residents in Queenstown who are not registered with a medical centre and who have not had the measles vaccination, or are unsure whether they have had it, a free walk in vaccination clinic will be operating from Saturday 15 October 2016 at Queenstown Medical Centre, 9 Isle Street, Queenstown.

The free walk-in clinic will be open as follows:

Saturday 15 October1pm to 5pm
Sunday 16 October10am to 2pm
Monday 17 October10am to 6pm
Tuesday 18 October8am to 12.30pm
Wednesday 19 October9am to 12pm

People who haven't been immunised, and who may have been in contact with the case are asked to watch for symptoms that might suggest measles.

Measles is a potentially serious illness which presents in the following way:
· runny nose, cough, fever for 3 - 4 days before the onset of a rash, starting on the head and neck
· fever over 38ºC present at the time of rash onset
· cough or coryza or conjunctivitis or Koplik’s spots present at the time of rash onset
· people are infectious from the start of the runny nose and before the rash appears
· If you develop symptoms, stay home and phone your general practice or Healthline (0800 611 116) and let them know that you have potentially been in contact with a confirmed measles case.

People with measles need to be isolated at home – this means staying at home all the time and not going to school, work, sporting events or other public events and not having visitors to the house unless they are immune

There is no specific treatment for measles so managing the symptoms includes rest, plenty of fluids, and fever cares such as cooling, paracetamol.

“Our Public Health team has done a fantastic job of tracing known contacts of the case, and we haven’t been notified of any other cases,” said Dr Poore.

For more information:

www.health.govt.nz/your-health/conditions-and-treatments/diseases-and-illnesses/measles
www.immune.org.nz/measles-and-mmr
Healthline (0800 611 116)

ENDS

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