12 Sep 2019

Measles cases in Auckland this year reach 1000

10:07 pm on 12 September 2019

The number of measles cases in Auckland this year has now reached over 1000 and vaccination rates are soaring as people move to protect themselves.

Measles, mumps, rubella, virus vaccine and syringe on blue background.

An example of an MMR vaccine. Photo: Sherry Yates/123RF

Auckland Regional Public Health Service's senior medical officer of health William Rainger said the number of confirmed cases has risen 37 since yesterday to 1007.

And the number of people being vaccinated had quadrupled in the past three weeks to up to 2000 a day, he said.

That includes an Auckland student who has contracted measles after a quarantine order following a school ball. Earlier this month, St Peter's College asked students who have not been vaccinated against the disease to stay at home.

The city's DHBs were moving doses of vaccination around the city and from GP surgeries in areas with less risk, to areas most in need, like South Auckland, which was at the centre of the outbreak, he said.

"The work being done by general practitioners and their staff in vaccinating these people is much to be admired and I know they're working really hard."

There was enough vaccine in the city but there was sometimes a lag because supplies were regularly having to be topped up, he said

General practices were being asked to prioritise certain groups.

That included young adults 15-29, particularly Pasifika people, where the disease was most prevalent, to try to "break the chain of transmission", he said.

And under-5s were also being prioritised because they were most at risk, he said.

Pharmac was ordering more of the vaccine to ensure there was enough to cover the outbreak which had not yet peaked, he said.

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