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Taranaki Public Health Unit confirms another case of measles

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The Taranaki Public Health Unit has confirmed another case of measles in Taranaki.

Medical Officer of Health, Dr Jonathan Jarman, says "A woman in her twenties has been admitted to Taranaki Base Hospital with a confirmed case of measles.

"The source of the infection is unknown, but the Taranaki Public Health Unit is working to determine where this patient may have been whilst contagious."

Dr Jarman emphasises that measles is one of the most infectious of all diseases because it is airborne and can be easily spread. The MMR vaccine offers the best protection against measles, therefore we strongly recommend people get vaccinated.

"In this case the patient was unvaccinated which meant she was vulnerable to the virus. I can’t stress enough how important it is to check that your whānau are up to date with their vaccinations," Dr Jarman added.

The public is being urged to remain vigilant about symptoms which may take a while to appear - usually about 10 days after being exposed to the virus.

Dr Jarman says, "Measles spreads easily via coughing and sneezing. Symptoms include a high fever along with a runny nose, hacking cough, sore red eyes, followed by a rash three to five days later which starts on the head and spreads down the body.

"People are infectious from five days before the rash appears to five days after, therefore anyone with measles needs to be isolated from the time they become ill until five days after the rash has appeared."

If you start to develop symptoms that could be measles, or have been in contact with anyone who is a confirmed case, please phone your GP or contact Healthline on 0800 611 116 . Be sure to call before visiting your GP to prevent infecting others.

Dr Jarman adds, "Patients can be really sick with measles and it usually takes one to two weeks to get better. Complications are common and about one in 10 people will need hospital treatment."

Now is also the time to consider if you are immune to measles or not.

- Those born before 1969 are considered immune 

- Those born in 1969 or later are considered ‘fully immunised’ against measles when they have two documented measles or MMR vaccinations, with the first dose received when aged 12 months or older

- Evidence suggests that one dose of measles or MMR vaccine protects 95 per cent of people from developing measles. The other five per cent may need a second vaccination to be fully covered

Those who are unsure of their immunity status should get it checked. This can be done through GPs, though some people may also have physical written records at home - like a Plunket or WellChild book - which may detail their immunisations.

Any child immunised after 2005 will have their immunisations recorded on the National Immunisation Register, which GPs have access to.

"People need to ensure they have had both doses of the MMR vaccine as this provides protection for themselves and others," says Dr Jarman.

For more information or advice on measles, please call Healthline on 0800 611 116, visit the Taranaki DHB or Ministry of Health websites.

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