Measles is a serious and highly contagious illness, which can affect adults as well as children.
Picture courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Prodrome, can include:
- fever (above 38°C)
- koplik spots (white spots on the buccal mucosa).
Day 3 to 7 of illness
A generalised maculopapular rash, starting on the head and neck and then spreading to the rest of the body.
Notify public health immediately
Notify the Medical Officer of Health as soon as you suspect measles – do not wait for a laboratory confirmation.
Measles patients are infectious from five days before the rash appears until five days after the rash appears (counting the day of rash onset as day 1). Implement Infection Prevention and Control measures, for example:
- identify suitable triage and isolation areas for suspect measles cases
- allow only immune staff to have contact with the patient
- use appropriate personal protective equipment.
Be prepared for suspected measles cases who may not have called ahead, for example, by placing signs, hand gels and surgical masks at waiting room entrances or reception desks.
Offer measles vaccinations to those who are not fully immunised. People born before 1 January 1969 are considered immune. People born after 1 January 1969 require 2 measles vaccinations to be fully immunised.
MMR vaccinations are scheduled at 15 months and 4 years.
The vaccinations are free for New Zealand residents and contacts of cases.
Vaccination is particularly important for those planning to travel overseas – to protect them and prevent outbreaks in New Zealand.
Infants 6 months and over can be given MMR early if necessary – refer to Measles – Prevention for more information.
Further advice for travellers is available on the Safe Travel website.
The Ministry has developed some printable resources for primary care, after-hours clinics and emergency departments.
- Think Measles in the community (PDF, 225 KB) – a resource for the public that can be printed as a poster or flyer and displayed, for example, in clinic waiting rooms
- Think Measles in the community for health professionals (PDF, 272 KB) – a resource for health professionals describing measles symptoms and actions required if measles is suspected
- Think Measles for travellers (PDF, 371 KB) – a simple resource for travellers (including those travelling within New Zealand) that can be printed as a poster
- Think Measles for overseas travellers (PDF, 365 KB) – a simple resource for overseas travellers that can be printed as a poster
- Think Measles when travelling overseas for health professionals (PDF, 176 KB) – a resource for health professionals describing measles symptoms and actions required if measles is suspected
- Attention: You could have measles – with plane (PDF, 388 KB) – an alert poster that can be displayed at clinic entrances and reception desks (includes an overseas travel or contact alert)
- Attention: You could have measles – no plane (PDF, 281 KB) – an alert poster that can be displayed at clinic entrances and reception desks (does not includes an overseas travel or contact alert)
- Are you protected from measles? poster (PDF, 462 KB)
For information for the public on measles, go to the YourHealth consumer section.