Canterbury District Health Board’s Community and Public
Health Division has been notified of a confirmed case of measles in
The case is a student at Canterbury University who became
unwell last week and had contact with other people at Canterbury University and
in the Riccarton community while infectious.
Known contacts have been advised that if they have not
been immunised they may be at risk of developing measles.
The case had recently visited Auckland, where there is
currently a measles outbreak. There are 147 confirmed measles cases in the
Auckland region with further possible cases under investigation.
Measles is a highly infectious viral infection. It is
easily spread from person to person through the air by breathing, coughing and
Measles is a serious illness and one out of every ten
people who catch it will need to be hospitalised. The MMR (Measles, Mumps and
Rubella) vaccine offers the best protection against measles. Two doses are
required to give maximum protection. These are usually given at around 15 months
and four years.
Canterbury Medical Officer of Health, Dr Ramon Pink, says
“This is a powerful reminder to parents to make sure their children are
immunised. All caregivers, particularly those concerned that their children
could be at risk, should check their children’s immunisation record and if they
have not been immunised contact their GP and arrange for it to be
The MMR vaccination is an effective vaccine, giving
Anyone who is concerned that they or a family member may
have measles should phone their General Practice team. Symptoms of the disease
At first, a fever, runny nose and sore red eyes
After a few days, a red blotchy rash appears which lasts
for up to a week. The rash usually starts on the face and spreads to the rest of
Spots on the inside of the mouth
It’s important to call your doctor first as measles is
easily spread from person to person through the air. Phoning ahead helps ensure
people with measles do not end up sitting in a waiting room, potentially
spreading the illness to others.
Measles is now uncommon in New Zealand thanks to
vaccination. There were three outbreaks in 2009/2010, all of which were started
by people who were infected overseas.
How to protect yourself and your family against measles
Measles can’t easily be treated once you get it, so the
only way to prevent the disease is through immunisation.
Canterbury DHB encourages parents and families to check
that their children’s immunisations are up-to-date. In addition, adults born
after 1969 who are unsure whether they are immune should check with their family
By getting immunised, you will not only be protecting
yourself or your child, you’ll also be stopping the disease from spreading in
Who is eligible for free measles
Anyone, over the age of one year, who was born after 1969
and who has not had two doses of measles vaccine in the past. Call your General Practice team (family doctor) 24 hours a
day, seven days a week. After hours your call will be answered by a registered
nurse who can advise you on what to do and where to go.
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