Measles in Taupo: 14 cases in BOP & Lakes district
Health authorities have confirmed another two cases of measles – this time in Taupo.
This brings the total number of confirmed cases across the Bay of Plenty and Lakes districts to 14 since the start of April.
“Our team is working to identify people who may have been in contact with each case,” says Dr Phil Shoemack, Medical Officer of Health for Toi Te Ora Public Health.
If you, or someone you know, were at the following locations in Taupō at the following times, and you are younger than 50 years old and unvaccinated you are at risk of developing measles:
Starlight Cinema – Shizam Movie - on April 23 at 2.45pm, EB Games on Anzac Day from early to mid-afternoon, Burger King on Anzac Day from early to mid-afternoon, Starlight Cinema – Avengers Endgame 3D movie – on Friday April 26 at the evening show or Dixie Browns on April 26 from 5.30pm to 6.30pm.
“In this case, please watch for the following symptoms of measles over the next week – fever, cough, runny nose and sore red eyes, followed a few days later by a rash usually starting on the face before moving down the body.”
Phil says it’s important everyone remains vigilant and looks for the signs and symptoms of measles, not just those who were at the places specified in Taupō.
“If you think you or someone in your family/whānau may have measles, please stay at home and phone your doctor or Healthline first. Measles is one of the most infectious viruses, so it is important that we try to limit the spread.”
The Healthline number is 0800 611 116.
Check your immunity to measles
Measles is a very infectious viral illness that spreads easily from person to person. It can be serious with about one in ten affected people needing hospital treatment.
The MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine is very effective in preventing measles.
“It’s important that parents ensure their children receive their free routine MMR immunisations on time at 15 months and 4 years of age,” says Dr Shoemack.
“If for any reason you have never had a dose of MMR vaccine now is the time to get one,” says Dr Shoemack. “After just one dose of MMR vaccine about 95% of people will be protected from measles, and 99% of people who have had two MMR doses will be protected from measles.”
People born before 1 January 1969 are considered to be immune because virtually everyone got measles prior to the vaccine being introduced that year, and so this older age group does not need the measles immunisation.
It is particularly important to check your immunity if you are planning an overseas trip. The Ministry of Health recently highlighted that since 2012, all outbreaks of measles in New Zealand were started by travellers bringing the disease from overseas. There are currently significant measles outbreaks in many countries.
For more information:
- Toi Te Ora Public Health website: www.toiteora.govt.nz/measles
- Immunisation Advisory Centre free phone: 0800 IMMUNE (0800 466 863)
- Immunisation Advisory Centre website: www.immune.org.nz
- Ministry of Health 2019 measles outbreak information: www.health.govt.nz/your-health/conditions-and-treatments/diseases-and-illnesses/measles/2019-measles-outbreak-information
- Ministry of Health website: www.health.govt.nz/measles
- Don't Assume You're Immune website: www.getimmunised.org.nz