Public health units following up measles case

Media release

28 May 2015

Public health officers are tracing people who may have been exposed to the measles virus after a case has been identified in Manawatu.

The person was taking part in a charity firefighter tower climb at Auckland’s Sky City and stayed at the hotel over the weekend of May 22 to 24 while they were infectious.

The person later returned home to Palmerston North and developed measles symptoms.

The Chief Medical Officer, Dr Don Mackie, says measles is a highly infectious and potentially serious disease. Immunisation is however highly effective.

‘As there were a large number number of people from many parts of the country who were potentially exposed during the weekend, public health units nationwide have been notified so they can take suitable steps. If you are someone who thinks you might have been at risk of exposure, it’s important you contact your local public health unit,’ says Dr Mackie.

‘Public health officials are well versed in carrying out what is known as contact tracing, which involves reaching as many people as possible who could have been potentially exposed to measles. They can then be advised about what measures they need to take if they have, or develop measles-like symptoms.’

Dr Mackie says cases like these show how important it is for people to get immunised against measles, or to check their immunisation status if they are unsure.

It usually takes 10–14 days for someone who has caught measles to start showing any symptoms.

Anyone who feel unwell should phone their GP or call Healthline on 0800 611 116 for advice.

It is important to call first before seeing a doctor because measles is highly infectious, and people with measles can infect others in the waiting room.

Unimmunised people who have had contact with a person with measles, will normally be advised to stay at home and away from all public places, school or work for 14 days after their contact.

More information about measles

Measles is highly contagious – the virus from an infected person can stay in the air for up to an hour and infect people, therefore you can get infected without having been in direct contact with the case.

It affects both children and adults.

However it is easily preventable through immunisation.

2 doses of the measles vaccine is all you need to protect yourself, your family and your community.

Vaccination is particularly important if you are planning to travel anywhere overseas – to protect yourself and to help prevent outbreaks in New Zealand.

You can learn more at Measles.

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