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Suspected measles case in Ruakaka

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Suspected measles case in Ruakaka

Northland DHB advises Northlanders to ensure their families are protected from measles. Cases have now been reported from the Waikato region to Canterbury, and the number of cases continues to climb in Auckland.

Medical Officer of Health Dr Clair Mills said a three year old Ruakaka child has been identified with suspected measles. Although the child has not been hospitalised and is recovering at home with her family, the child attended child care centre while in the infectious period, before the rash appears. It is believed the child may have contracted the virus in Auckland.

"We are working with the child care centre, parents and general practice in the Raukaka area to contain the spread of this disease and are in the process of identifying contacts and offering immunisation," said Dr Mills

"If children, adolescents and adults who have not been immunised or have not had measles before have had contact with the suspected case, they will be asked to stay isolated at home for 14 days."

"This will mean they will be required to stay at home, not go to school or work or any other public places until we are certain they have not contracted the disease."

Measles is a very infectious virus and sometimes the first symptoms (fever, cough, runny nose and red eyes) can be mistaken for a cold, with the tell-tale rash appearing three to four days later.

Dr Mills advises parents to check their child's immunisation records. Children who have not received at least one dose of the MMR vaccine (Measles, Mumps and Rubella) are most at risk; this is included within the 15-month and 4-year old immunisation schedule.

"Please double-check that your child is not at risk. There is a window of opportunity to catch up on any missed vaccinations your child has missed so contact your practice nurse or family doctor now.''

"Measles has the potential to make a child very sick and on average children with measles are sick enough to require one to two weeks off school and more rarely children can get severe pneumonia and other complications."

Commonly referred to as the 'miserable-measles', the best prevention is immunisation.

Dr Mills said that a number of rash-causing illnesses can appear to be very similar to measles, including meningococcal disease.

"Bottom line - if you are worried about a sick child, ring your doctor. This is an avoidable disease where there is an effective vaccine."

Symptoms of Measles:

High fever

Cough

Red eyes

Running nose

Rash

Initially presents like a 'cold' but then gets worse.

Rash appears 3-4 days after initial symptoms

Ear infections, diarrhoea, and/or pneumonia are also possible complications.

Most children take one to two weeks to recover.

Attached is a Measles fact sheet for parents and Caregivers with further information.

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