24 May 2019

Partygoers warned after fourth measles case found in Wellington

1:00 pm on 24 May 2019

About 80 people who attended a party in Lower Hutt on Saturday are at risk of contracting measles.

Measles, MMR (file photo)

Measles, MMR (file photo) Photo: 123RF

Nurses from Regional Public Health are contacting partygoers after a man was subsequently found to have the infectious disease.

He did not know he had measles, and most likely caught it in Australia.

Read more about measles:

  • Measles and MMR vaccination in NZ: The facts
  • The man also visited Lower Hutt businesses including Pete's Emporium, Pak'n Save, Animates and the BP petrol station at Melling.

    Medical officer of health Dr Annette Nesdale said anyone who was at the party or those businesses could be at risk if they are not immune.

    People are urged to contact Regional Public Health if they see early signs of measles, such as a fever or runny nose.

    This is Wellington's fourth case of measles this year.

    Measles is a highly infectious viral illness that can lead to serious health complications - including infections of the lungs and brain - and is sometimes fatal. It is easily spread through breathing, coughing and sneezing, but can also spread before the infected person feels sick or shows symptoms.

    Symptoms include a high fever, runny nose, cough and sore red eyes.

    A rash also appears on the face and neck a few days later, and then spreads to the rest of the body.

    Anyone who thought they had measles should call their doctor or Healthline before turning up to a waiting room.

    In New Zealand, the MMR vaccine is routinely given to children at 15 months and four years old.

    Those with measles can potentially infect up to 15 others if they are not immune and parents should also check their child has had the appropriate MMR vaccine.

    Adults under 50 years who have not had even one MMR dose should also get their free vaccination from their GP.

    Those over 50 are considered immune as the disease was widespread in childhood, according to the public health service.

    One MMR vaccine dose protected about 95 percent of the population, with a second dose protecting close to 99 percent.

    Get the RNZ app

    for ad-free news and current affairs