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St John initiates actions around measles

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

St John has taken a proactive stance on the current measles outbreak in Auckland, initiating a number of actions, says Medical Director Dr Tony Smith.

We have been following the news around the measles outbreak closely, and planning accordingly. The implications of the measles outbreak relate mostly to our operational people - if unwell or quarantined, an operational person is unable to work. Therefore we are taking this seriously, while at the same time taking a measured, sensible approach.

The current St John situation is that one of our Auckland staff is confirmed to have measles. The staff member has been off work but not sick enough to be admitted to hospital. The diagnosis was confirmed at the end of last week and we do not know how they became infected.

We have had a small group of staff members off sick with suspected measles. The number fluctuates, but currently that numbers stands at one. The number changes daily as people are added to the list because they go off sick and other people are removed from the list because they are confirmed not to have measles.

Also, a small number of staff have been quarantined because they were in close contact with people who have had measles. We are organising testing for them to clarify their immunity status. St John is also working on a process for determining measles status of all St John clinical staff members. As well, we are working on an immunisation campaign for all staff without immunity to measles.

We follow best practise including cleaning of ambulances after every patient who may be carrying an infectious disease. This is our standard practise and is done for other diseases such as influenza.

We have circulated an information bulletin about measles and immunisation to all our staff and extra information has been provided to all of our clinical people.

We have briefed managers, and directed people to their managers if they have questions and to the Auckland Regional Public Health Service website for additional information. Our instructions to staff will be in force until the measles outbreak is under control. We do not know how long this will be.

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