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Second wave of measles hits Waikato

Waikato is experiencing a second wave of measles cases all involving unvaccinated contacts of those originally diagnosed.

There are now 17 confirmed cases of measles – one requiring hospitalisation and all in teenagers – notified to Waikato District Health Board’s Population Health.

All are confined to the Te Awamutu area and six were secondary cases in unimmunised family members.

Medical officer of health Dr Anita Bell, pictured left, said the secondary cases were isolated for their infectious period so should not have spread the disease any further.

“Measles is a serious and highly infectious disease that makes people very ill for about 10 days. All cases were unimmunised apart from one of the cases who had received only one of the two recommended doses of measles, mumps and rubella vaccine (MMR) vaccine.

“This is a testament to the effectiveness of the MMR vaccine in protecting people who are fully immunised.

“Immunisation is the only protection from this potentially serious disease. Immunisation protects not only the individual but also blocks the spread of this disease in our communities,” said Dr Bell.

Unimmunised people who have contact with a person with measles, will normally get told to stay at home and away from all public places, school or work for 14 days after their contact.

“Anyone born before 1969 can reasonably assume they are already immune, because catching measles was almost inevitable before vaccine became available. Many children were harmed in the process.

“If families suspect a member has measles they should call their doctor before visiting to avoid spreading the disease while waiting,” said Dr Bell.

Measles is spread by tiny droplets in the air and is one of the few diseases that can spread so easily to those nearby.

Anyone displaying symptoms of measles, which include fever, cough, blocked nose, sore red eyes, should immediately telephone their doctor or Healthline on 0800 611 116.

ENDS

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