Associate Health Minister Jo Goodhew says a spate of new measles cases dotted around the North Island highlights the need for people to check if they have been immunised.
Over the last week new measles cases have been confirmed in Hawkes Bay, Taranaki and the Bay of Plenty.
“Measles is a serious and highly-infectious disease, and this flurry of new cases shows just how easily it can spread,” says Mrs Goodhew.
Since the end of December 2013, there have been more than 200 cases of measles in New Zealand. The majority of cases have been in children and teenagers aged 10 to 20 years, initially affecting the Auckland and more recently, the Waikato region.
“With the school holidays only days away, parents should be mindful that families and children could be exposed to measles, especially if they are travelling, attending events or school camps, or have friends and family travelling to visit them,” says Mrs Goodhew.
“Immunisation is the best protection to stop you and your children getting measles. Anyone who is not immunised and gets exposed to a case of measles will need to stay home for at least 14 days to ensure the virus doesn’t spread.”
Anyone who suspects they may have measles should phone their GP or call Healthline on 0800 611 116 for advice. It is important to call first because measles is highly infectious, and people with measles can infect others in the waiting room.
Further information can be found at www.health.govt.nz/measles or by calling 0800 IMMUNE.
Media contact: Angela Kenealy 021 220 0129