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Queenstown measles update

There have been no further confirmed measles cases in Queenstown today. The total number of confirmed cases remains at 20. Of the 20 total cases, 19 are local residents. One was a visitor from Auckland.

Southern DHB’s Medical Officer of Health Dr Susan Jack is asking everyone in the community to do their bit to stop measles spreading and protect people who can’t be vaccinated due to age, allergies and medical conditions.

“If you are a contact of a confirmed case and asked to be in isolation then please follow those instructions. Or, if you suspect you might have measles, you need to isolate yourself until you know for sure. Don’t go to the medical centre or emergency department, call ahead for advice or call Healthline on 0800 611 116.”

She adds that unvaccinated people need to be aware that they could be contagious before they display symptoms, “if you are not vaccinated and have had contact with a measles case, you need to be isolated for 14 days”.

Following an immunisation Expert Advisory Group recommendation, there is a focus on ensuring the groups most affected by the current measles outbreak can be vaccinated to protect them and the wider community and help prevent further spread of measles.

This means the first priority for vaccinations will be for:

• Ensuring all children across NZ receive their vaccines on time at 15 months and 4 years to maintain the national childhood immunisation schedule.
• Vaccinating groups who are most affected by the outbreak, namely children under 4 years of age.
• Proactively contacting children aged up to 14 years who have not had a single dose of vaccine to get vaccinated.
• The priority groups for vaccination are being reviewed regularly based first on priority children then on who it is most important to target in local cases.

The public are asked to check they are in the prioritisation group for a measles vaccine (see above) before contacting their GP.

The Immunisation Advisory Centre has provided up to date information about measles immunity and the MMR vaccine on their website: https://www.immune.org.nz/hot-topic/measles-overseas-and-new-zealand

For more information on measles please visit the Ministry of Health website.

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