You may have heard that there has been a significant increase in measles outbreaks in the Auckland area. For more information about measles, please read the following.
A quick guide to measles
What is measles?
Measles is a virus that can make adults and children very sick. It is highly infectious and can spread quickly and easily through breathing, sneezing and coughing. If you are not immune to measles, you can catch the disease just by being in the same room as someone who has it.
How serious is measles?
Measles can lead to hospitalisation, serious complications (such as pneumonia and swelling of the brain) or, in rare cases, death. It is especially serious for pregnant women who are not immune, babies and people with weakened immune systems.
What are the symptoms of measles?
Measles symptoms include a high fever, runny nose, cough and sore red eyes. A few days later a rash starts on the face and neck, and then spreads to the rest of the body. You can have measles and spread it to others before you feel sick or show any symptoms.
What should I do if I think I or a family member has measles?
If you think you have measles, stay home and call your doctor or Healthline on 0800 611 116. Healthline operates 24/7 and has a translator service available. If you are going to visit a medical centre or after hours clinic, please phone before you go. When you arrive, you must be isolated and not sit in the waiting room. This is to prevent spreading the disease to others.
How can I protect myself and my family against measles?
The Ministry of Health is now recommending that all children aged 12 months should have their first measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine early - MMR is normally given at 15 months.
Research has shown that a person who has been given one dose of the MMR vaccine has a 95% chance of being immune to the virus. More than 99% of people who receive two MMR doses (given at least four weeks apart and the first dose given after the age of 12 months) develop immunity to measles. It can take two weeks for a person to be fully immune after being vaccinated.
Contact us today on 09 827 8888 to make an appointment with our Immunisation Nurse for your child’s MMR vaccine.
Auckland Regional Public Health Service: www.arphs.health.nz
Ministry of Health: www.health.govt.nz
Immunisation Advisory Centre: www.immune.org.nz (0800 466 863)
Healthline: 0800 611 116