Home > All news > Measles outbreak declared over in Waikato, need for vigilance and immunisation remains – 29 August 2016

Measles outbreak declared over in Waikato, need for vigilance and immunisation remains – 29 August 2016

29 August 2016

Measles outbreak declared over in Waikato, need for vigilance and immunisation remains

Waikato Medical Officer of Health Dr Richard Hoskins confirmed today that the measles outbreak that started in late March is now thought to be over.

“Although that is good news it’s only for now, with an ever present risk of people bringing measles back into our communities where immunisation rates are not yet high enough” says Dr Hoskins.

“With the last confirmed case being mid July it is now two clear incubation periods since we’ve had any confirmed cases” he said. “Usually we wait this long to call the outbreak over in case there are missed cases, but once the time between when someone is exposed and could develop measles is twice as long as the normal “incubation” time we are happy to say we think the outbreak is over”.

But with three more outbreaks of measles into other parts of New Zealand from overseas in recent weeks the Public Health Unit is urging people born after January 1969 to ensure they are up to date with MMR (the vaccine that protects against measles). “This is really important, especially for people travelling overseas and for people who have not got clear records – at their family doctors or in their Well Child/Tamariki Ora book – of having had two MMRs” says Dr Hoskins. “We find while tracing contacts of measles cases that many young people think they are up to date but don’t realise they missed those vaccinations, especially before NZ’s National Immunisation Register was implemented in 2005 and invitations, recall and outreach services were able to be introduced to help reach target levels for population protection”.

In total there were 56 people confirmed with measles in the Waikato, with spread to other regions bringing the total number of people with measles linked to this outbreak to 89. Twenty-two of the 56 Waikato people required treatment or observation in hospital for three hours or more, and twelve of these required hospital stays overnight or longer. Two of the 56 people with measles were partially immunised having had one dose of MMR when they should have had two, the other 54 people were unimmunised.

In addition there were nearly 200 other people suspected to have measles investigated as part of this outbreak, and hundreds of contacts investigated to see if they were susceptible to measles infection. “This represents a lot of people needing to curtail their normal activities and isolate themselves while their immunity was determined, until we could rule out measles, or until they could no longer get it and pass it on to other people. It also represents a lot of extra work for GP practices, labs and hospitals with extra visits, infection precautions, and contacts from waiting rooms”.

This outbreak has provided a timely reminder to get up to date with your vaccines. If you are not fully vaccinated for age, go to your GP for your free vaccines. Vaccination is your best protection against measles, and many other vaccine preventable diseases.

3 August 2016

Measles still around in the Waikato

The outbreak of measles in the Waikato is not over yet, with 3 new confirmed cases in mid-July and the possibility of more cases over the next few weeks. Waikato District Health Board’s Public Health Service, Population Health is still managing an outbreak of measles, the first case was notified on 6 April 2016.

As of 3 August 2016 there are 57 confirmed cases with a further 4 under investigation. Twenty two of the cases have required treatment or observation in hospital for 3 hours or more and 12 of these cases have required hospital stays overnight or longer. There have been 157 measles-like illnesses notified that, after investigation, have been determined to be not a case of measles. There is one affected preschool at present with children in isolation to 9 August 2016.

Important messages

  • There is still a risk of measles for unimmunised people
  • Immunisation is the best form of protection. Anyone born after 1 Jan 1969 who is not sure that they have had 2 doses of measles immunisation (after the age of 1 year) should see their GP to get up-to-date, it’s free.
  • Anyone who thinks they might have measles* should alert the GP or ED before they go for attention, to avoid the risk of passing it on to someone else like babies, pregnant women, or people with medical conditions leading to low immunity.

27 July 2016

Measles numbers to date

Waikato District Health Board’s Public Health Service, Population Health, has to date (26 July 2016) been notified of 56 confirmed cases of measles, and are investigating a further 3 potential cases. Fourteen cases have now been hospitalised since the outbreak began in early April.

8 July 2016

Measles numbers to date

Waikato District Health Board’s Public Health Service, Population Health, has to date (8 July 2016) been notified of 54 confirmed cases of measles, and are investigating a further 5 potential cases. Twelve cases have now been hospitalised since the outbreak began in early April.

30 June 2016

Measles is not over yet

Measles continues to spread in the Waikato. This outbreak has been going for over 13 weeks and the numbers of people with measles continues to increase.

We have new confirmed cases in students who were infectious while attending both Morrinsville Intermediate and Morrinsville David Street Schools. Both schools have been notified, advising all staff and students who are not immune to measles (see below regarding who is not immune to measles) that they must stay at home in quarantine until Thursday 7 July (for Morrinsville Intermediate) and until Monday 11 July for David Street School.

Quarantine means people who are in home isolation need to remain at home and away from school/work, group and social activities, sports and recreation events and public places such as cinemas, grocery stores and shopping malls.

There was also a measles case who was infective while playing netball at Minogue Park Courts in Hamilton on Saturday the 25 June. All affected schools have been notified and parents advised to check the immunisation status of their children and be on the look out for symptoms of measles (detailed below).

Waikato District Health Board’s Public Health Service, Population Health, has to date (30 June 2016) been notified of 51 confirmed cases of measles, and are investigating a further 12 potential cases. Ten cases have been hospitalised since the outbreak began in early April.

“We have a high number of cases which have required hospitalisation, which illustrates the seriousness of this outbreak.” said Waikato DHB medical officer of health Dr Richard Vipond.

“So it’s timely to remind people again of the signs and symptoms of measles and to check their own as well as their child’s immunity status.”

DHB Maori Health Service public health physician Dr Nina Scott is concerned that there are a high number of Maori with measles.

“Many people who have caught measles have only received some of their scheduled vaccinations.” said Dr Scott.

“The best thing people can do to protect themselves and their whanau/family from catching this easily spread and dangerous disease is to get up to date with vaccinations.”

Vaccination is free for all children and adults who do not have documentation of two MMR vaccines. Vaccination is your best protection from getting measles and from spreading it to others in your whanau and community. If you are not up to date, or not sure, check with your GP and get a vaccine if needed.

Waikato schools have been made aware about the outbreak and what actions would be required if there is a case of measles in their school. Sports clubs, or other clubs holding events, need to be aware of measles in the community and let people know that they should not attend sporting events/practices if they have been in contact with someone with measles, unless their vaccination status is up to date.

Measles can be very serious. If you or your child becomes unwell please phone your GP or call Healthline on 0800 611 116 for advice. People need to phone ahead before going to a doctor’s office or to an emergency department, because if they do have measles they might infect other people.

People who are regarded as not immune to measles are:

  • People born after 01 January 1969 who have not had two doses of the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine or have not had a laboratory result showing immunity
  • Children over four years old who have not received their second dose of MMR vaccine
  • Infants under the age of 15 months who have not received their first routine dose of MMR vaccine.  They are susceptible and rely on everyone else to be immune so that measles does not spread to them

How to protect you and your family/whanau against measles:

  • Find out your vaccination status and the vaccination status of others in your household. You can find this information at the GP you are enrolled with or your plunket book.
  • If you or your children and family members are not up to date with immunisations, phone your GP to get vaccinations completed. It is the best way to provide protection against a number of diseases and complications.
  • Measles can’t be treated once you get it, so the only way to prevent the disease is through immunisation.


Measles Symptoms

The time delay from being exposed to measles to developing symptoms is usually 8 -14 days, but can be up to 21 days. The typical symptoms of measles are:

  • The first symptoms are a fever, and one or more symptoms of a runny nose, cough and sore red eyes
  • After a few days a red blotchy rash comes on and lasts up to one week. The rash usually starts on the face and spreads to the rest of the body
  • Children and adults with measles are often very sick.

Further information is available on our website http://www.waikatodhb.health.nz/measles

21 June

Measles update

Waikato District Health Board’s Public Health Service, Population Health, has to date (21 June 2016) been notified of 44 confirmed measles cases, with another six under investigation. A total of 10 of the confirmed cases have been hospitalised since the outbreak began in early April.

Approximately 90 cases with a clinical illness and rash like measles have been investigated and were found not to have measles.

There are currently no schools with quarantine management in place.

Visit http://www.waikatodhb.health.nz/measles for Waikato measles information

15 June

Measles update

Waikato District Health Board’s Public Health Service, Population Health, has to date (15 June 2016) been notified of 36 confirmed measles cases, with another eight under investigation. A total of nine of the confirmed cases have been hospitalised since the outbreak began in early April.

Almost 70% of the confirmed cases are able to be linked back to the first confirmed case from early April.

Approximately 44 per cent of cases are aged between 10 to 20 years. Of the others, 31 per cent are aged under 4 years, 22 per cent are aged between 20 and 30 years and three per cent aged over 30 years.

Of the 36 cases, only one case was fully immunised.

Approximately 90 cases with a clinical illness and rash like measles have been investigated and were found not to have measles.

There are currently no schools with quarantine management in place.

Visit http://www.waikatodhb.health.nz/measles for Waikato measles information.

16 May

Measles spread continues  

Measles is now present at another school. Fairfield College in Hamilton has had a student attending school whilst infected. This is the second school in the past week where an infected measles case has been confirmed. In total three schools have had cases with Nga Taiatea Wharekura school having a case in early April.

Waikato District Health Board’s Population Health Service has asked students and staff at both Fairfield and Morrinsville College to ensure they are immunised against measles.

“Students and staff may have been exposed to this infection, and they should look out for symptoms,” says Medical Officer of Health Dr Richard Wall.

Both schools have been notified, advising all staff and students who do not have documented immunity to measles (such as having not had two doses of the Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR) vaccine), that they must stay at home in quarantine until Tuesday 24 May (for Morrinsville College) and until Monday 23 May for Fairfield College.

The Waikato District Health Board Population Health Service says that so far there are 22 confirmed cases of measles in the Waikato and 12 are under investigation.

Measles is a serious illness, and one in 10 people with measles needs hospital treatment. Measles is infectious before the rash appears, and is very easily transmitted from one person to another through the air.

People most at risk of contracting the disease are those who have not had the MMR vaccine, or who have had just one dose of the vaccine. Anyone born before 1969 is likely to be immune to the disease without having had the vaccine.

“The only way to protect from measles and the best way to avoid its complications is to be fully vaccinated. My request would be for parents and families to check that their children’s immunisations are up-to-date.” says Dr Wall.

How to protect you and your family against measles:

  • Make sure your children and family are fully immunised. It is the best way to provide protection against a number of diseases and complications.
  • Measles can’t be treated once you get it, so the only way to prevent the disease is through immunisation.

Measles Symptoms

Dr Wall says the time delay from being exposed to measles to developing symptoms is usually 8 -14 days, but can be up to 21 days. The typical symptoms of measles are:

  • The first symptoms are a fever, and one or more of a runny nose, cough and sore red eyes
  • Then after a few days a red blotchy rash comes on and lasts up to one week. The rash usually starts on the face and spreads to the rest of the body
  • Children and adults with measles are often very sick.

People should not go directly to a doctor’s office or to an emergency department, because if they do have measles they might infect other people. They should phone their GP or call Healthline toll free at any hour of the day or night on 0800 611-116.

Visit http://www.waikatodhb.health.nz/measles for Waikato measles information.

Or

http://www.health.govt.nz/your-health/conditions-and-treatments/diseases-and-illnesses/measles/measles-frequently-asked-questions

13 May

Waikato District Health Board’s Population Health Service has asked students and staff at Morrinsville College to ensure they are immunised against measles, after a student was reported to the DHB with the virus.

“We have been notified that a student at Morrinsville College has measles and therefore students and staff may have been exposed to this infection, and they should look out for symptoms,” says Medical Officer of Health Dr Richard Wall.

The DHB has written to the school advising all staff and students who do not have documented immunity to measles (such as having not had two doses of the Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR) vaccine), that they must stay at home in quarantine until Tuesday 24 May. The College has decided to close on Monday 16 May until staff and students have checked their immunisation status.

The Waikato District Health Board Population Health Service says that so far there are 20 confirmed cases of measles in the Waikato and 12 are under investigation.

Measles is a serious illness, and one in 10 people with measles needs hospital treatment. Measles is infectious before the rash appears, and is very easily transmitted from one person to another through the air.

People most at risk of contracting the disease are those who have not had the MMR vaccine, or who have had just one dose of the vaccine. Anyone born before 1969 is likely to be immune to the disease without having had the vaccine.

“The only way to protect from measles and the best way to avoid its complications is to be fully vaccinated. My request would be for parents and families to check that their children’s immunisations are up-to-date.” says Dr Wall.

How to protect you and your family against measles:

  • Make sure your children and family are fully immunised. It is the best way to provide protection against a number of diseases and complications.
  • Measles can’t be treated once you get it, so the only way to prevent the disease is through immunisation.

Measles Symptoms

Dr Wall says the time delay from being exposed to measles to developing symptoms is usually 8 -14 days, but can be up to 21 days. The typical symptoms of measles are:

  • The first symptoms are a fever, and one or more of a runny nose, cough and sore red eyes
  • Then after a few days a red blotchy rash comes on and lasts up to one week. The rash usually starts on the face and spreads to the rest of the body
  • Children and adults with measles are often very sick.

People should not go directly to a doctor’s office or to an emergency department, because if they do have measles they might infect other people. They should phone their GP or call Healthline toll free at any hour of the day or night on 0800 611-116.

 

Visit http://www.waikatodhb.health.nz/measles for Waikato measles information.

Or

http://www.health.govt.nz/your-health/conditions-and-treatments/diseases-and-illnesses/measles/measles-frequently-asked-questions

6 May 2016

Measles alert over infected plane passenger

Travellers who arrived at Auckland International Airport on 24 April 2016 on a Jetstar flight JQ130 from Rarotonga may have been exposed to measles, Population Health, Waikato District Health Board in Hamilton has today advised.

“We have been notified of one measles case who was a passenger on flight JQ130 – which departed Rarotonga and arrived in Auckland at 6.10am on 25 April 2016,” says Medical Officer of Health Dr Richard Wall.

“The passenger with measles would have been infectious whilst in Rarotonga and at the time of their travel on this flight.”

Passengers who were on the flight may now/soon be experiencing symptoms, if they have been infected.

The Waikato District Health Board Population Health service says any passengers on that flight who feel they may be unwell should telephone their doctor 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.

Measles is a serious illness, and one in 10 people with measles need hospital treatment. Measles is infectious before the rash appears, and is very easily transmitted from one person to another through the air, for example, while walking past the passengers with measles, or while waiting in the airport gate lounge.

People most at risk of contracting the disease are those who have not had the Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR) vaccine, or who have just had one dose of the vaccine. Anyone born before 1969 is likely to be immune to the disease without having had the vaccine.

“The only way to protect from measles and the best way to avoid its complications is to be fully vaccinated. My request would be for parents and families to check that their children’s immunisations are up-to-date.“ says Dr Wall.

How to protect you and your family against measles:

  • Make sure your children and family are fully immunised. It is the best way to provide protection against a number of diseases and complications.
  • Measles can’t be treated once you get it, so the only way to prevent the disease is through immunisation.

Measles Symptoms

Dr Hall, Medical Officer of Health for Waikato District Health Board says the time delay from being exposed to measles to developing symptoms is usually 8 -14 days, but can be up to 21 days. The typical symptoms of measles are:

  • The first symptoms are a fever, and one or more of a runny nose, cough and sore red eyes
  • Then after a few days a red blotchy rash comes on and lasts up to one week. The rash usually starts on the face and spreads to the rest of the body
  • Children and adults with measles are often very sick.

“If you were on that flight and you detect any of those symptoms, please call your doctor, or call Healthline toll free at any hour of the day or night on 0800 611-116,” says Dr Hall.

People should not go directly to a doctor’s office or to an emergency department, because if they do have measles they might infect other people.

Visit http://www.waikatodhb.health.nz/measles for Waikato measles information.

Or

http://www.health.govt.nz/your-health/conditions-and-treatments/diseases-and-illnesses/measles/measles-frequently-asked-questions

ENDS

 

5 May 2016

More Measles Notifications

Measles continues to circulate in Hamilton and surrounding areas.

Waikato District Health Board’s Population Health service has confirmed 15 measles cases and another 12 under investigation. One of the new confirmed cases attended the Kapa Haka event when an earlier measles case was there while infectious.

There are also four confirmed cases, which don’t have any direct link to the other cases, which indicates that measles has now spread wider into the community.

One case used public transport in Hamilton on a daily basis while infectious.

“Information about measles in Hamilton has been circulated to media already but with the recent increase, it’s timely to remind people again of the signs and symptoms and to check their own as well as their child’s immunity status,” said Waikato DHB medical officer of health Dr Richard Wall.

“If you do not have immunity get vaccinated as soon as possible with the MMR vaccine. Vaccination affords full immunity in the vast majority of cases. ”

Waikato schools have been made aware about the outbreak and what to do if there was measles in their school. Further information is available on our website http://www.waikatodhb.health.nz/measles

Sports clubs, or other clubs holding events, need to be aware of measles in the community and let people know that they should not attend sporting events/practices if they have been in contact with someone with measles, unless their vaccination status is up to date.

Measles can be very serious. If you or your child becomes unwell please phone your GP or call Healthline on 0800 611 116 for advice or seek medical attention depending on severity of illness. It is important to call first because measles is highly infectious, and people with measles can infect others around them for example in waiting rooms of GP surgeries or ED.

People who are regarded as not immune to measles are:

  • People born after 01 January 1969 who have not had two doses of the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine or have not had a laboratory result showing immunity
  • Children over four years old who have not received their second dose of MMR vaccine
  • Infants under the age of 15 months who have not received their first routine dose of MMR vaccine.  They are susceptible and rely on everyone else to be immune so that measles does not spread to them

29 April 2016

A staff member at Waikato Hospital has contracted measles and had been working in the hospital while infectious but prior to developing any symptoms. The DHB has contacted all patients and staff who may have been exposed to the staff member while infectious at work.

This staff member was vaccinated against measles. For those who receive two doses, the measles vaccine provides effective protection in more than 95 per cent of cases. This was a rare case when the vaccine has not provided sufficient protection.

All Waikato DHB staff are being asked to check their measles (MMR) vaccination status, especially those who work in clinical areas and those employed before July 2015. The DHB has had a vaccination policy in place since July 2015 for all new staff to be vaccinated for MMR, Hepatitis B, Varicella, Tetanus, Diptheria and Pertussis.

There have now been nine confirmed cases in the Waikato since early April, with another three under investigation.

One recent measles case attended a regional Tainui Waka Kapa Haka festival held Saturday 16 April at the Claudelands Event Centre in Hamilton while infectious. Any secondary cases from the Kapa Haka event would be expected to be developing symptoms over the next week. There have been no confirmed cases resulting from attendance at the event to date.

If you or your child attended this Kapa Haka event you may have been exposed to the measles virus. You should look out for the symptoms of measles, which are fever, runny nose, sore runny eyes and cough. The rash starts later.

We advise everyone in our community to check your immune status for measles. If you do not have immunity get vaccinated as soon as possible with the MMR vaccine.

Medical Officer of Health, Dr Felicity Dumble says this is a timely reminder to everyone to check that they and their children are fully immunised against measles. Vaccination affords full immunity in the vast majority of cases.

Measles can be very serious. If you or your child becomes unwell please phone your GP or call Healthline on 0800 611 116 for advice or seek medical attention depending on severity of illness. It is important to call first because measles is highly infectious, and people with measles can infect others around them for example in waiting rooms of GP surgeries or ED.

 

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