13 May 2019

Five new cases of measles in Bay of Plenty area

1:49 pm on 13 May 2019

There are five new cases of measles in the Bay of Plenty and Lakes District.

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Photo: 123rf.com

This brings the total number of people with the illness in the area to 22 since the start of April.

Medical Officer of Health Dr Jim Miller said seven of those with measles have needed hospital treatment.

"Each of these new cases had been in contact with someone who was infectious, and had already been placed in quarantine by public health," Dr Miller said.

"We'd like to thank them and their families for their cooperation in helping to prevent the spread of this serious illness."

Dr Miller said the public health team has followed up more than 400 people who may have been in contact with an infectious person.

He said following up cases and their contacts was important in containing this current outbreak, but everyone needed to play their part.

"Make sure you're up to date with your immunisations. In that way you not only protect yourself but also your community," he said.

"If you do get exposed to measles you won't get sick or have to miss out on any school, work, or social activities. If you have already checked - thank you."

On Friday, the Ministry of Health said more than 110 cases had been confirmed throughout the country so far this year.

It said the number of cases globally increased by 300 percent in the first three months of 2019.

New Zealand eliminated endemic measles in 2012, meaning all cases reported here since then have come from people bringing the disease in from overseas.

The ministry said while local health authorities were working hard to contain the disease, it feared measles might become established in the country again.

People who are travelling overseas are being urged to get immunised against measles before they go.

Meanwhile, a second measles case was confirmed in Wellington after a teenager was admitted to hospital last weekend with the disease.

Regional Public Health Wellington said both the people infected are linked to cases in Bay of Plenty.

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