18 Sep 2019

Measles outbreak: Extra 100,000 doses of vaccine acquired

5:32 pm on 18 September 2019

The Health Ministry has secured an extra 100,000 doses of the measles vaccine.

That's on top of 52,000 extra doses which arrived in the country on Sunday. Those supplies are expected to be distributed shortly.

The ministry said the extra doses are still subject to final regulatory approval by health agencies, including the department itself, Medsafe and Pharmac.

It couldn't say when the new batch of vaccines may arrive.

There have been 1348 cases of measles so far this year, 1120 of them in the Auckland region.

The outbreak has caused an unprecedented demand from patients seeking to be immunised, especially in Auckland.

Some GP clinics had run out of the measles, mumps, rubella vaccine and the city's district health boards had been moving doses around to where they were needed most.

Hospitals treat patients with brain swelling

Meanwhile, Auckland hospitals are treating people with brain swelling caused by measles, that can lead to permanent brain damage.

A spokesperson for the city's three district health boards said there have been at least three cases of encephalitis.

It said while pneumonia is the most common complication from measles, they would expect to see one hospitalisation from encephalitis for every 1000 measles cases.

One man, in his 40s, is confirmed to be in Auckland Hospital with this type of brain swelling.

The DHB's measles management team is not releasing details about his condition for privacy reasons.

The Immunisation Advisory Centre said 15 percent of measles encephalitis cases are fatal, and one third of patients are left with permanent brain damage.

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