1 Mar 2019

Canterbury measles outbreak: Five people now infected

6:58 pm on 1 March 2019

A preschooler from Rangiora has become the fifth person to contract measles in Canterbury this week.

Measles, MMR (file photo)

Photo: 123RF

The District Health Board confirmed the case this afternoon after confirming an outbreak of the disease in the region on Tuesday.

Four other people from Rangiora and one from Christchurch have contracted the highly contagious disease.

The four infected people include a teenage boy, man and two women - all of whom were unvaccinated.

Canterbury Medical Officer of Health Ramon Pink said the latest case highlighted the need for children to have their scheduled vaccinations on time.

Dr Pink said measles was a serious, potentially life-threatening disease, which is spread easily through tiny droplets from a cough or sneeze.

The Canterbury outbreak comes one week after a university student in Dunedin contracted the disease.

However, the Southern DHB said no new cases have been confirmed in Otago since then.

Last month, Waikato DHB also declared a measles outbreak after being notified of six cases of measles, two of which dated back to late December.

Measles facts:

  • Measles is a highly infectious viral illness spread by contact with respiratory secretions through coughing and sneezing
  • People are infectious from five days before the onset of the rash to five days after the rash starts.
  • Infected persons should stay in isolation - staying home from school or work - during this time.
  • The best protection from measles is to have two MMR vaccinations. MMR is available from your family practice and is free to eligible persons.
  • People are considered immune if they have received two doses of MMR vaccine, have had a measles illness previously, or were born before 1969.
  • Anyone believing they have been exposed to measles or exhibiting symptoms, should not go to the ED or after hours' clinic or general practitioner. Instead call your GP any time, 24/7 for free health advice

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