Infant in Hawke’s Bay Hospital with measles

An infant is in isolation, in a stable condition, at Hawke’s Bay Hospital with measles – taking the total to 18 confirmed cases in the region this year. 

Hawke’s Bay District Health Board Medical Officer of Health Dr Rachel Eyre said the infant was too young for vaccination.  The public health service was working with family and other close contacts to minimise any risk of spread. 

Dr Eyre said the latest measles case was a reminder to all people to check their immunisation status and be aware of measles symptoms. 

“If anyone is unsure of their immune status, they are strongly encouraged to check their records with their GP,” said Dr Eyre. 

“Obviously those with babies too young for vaccination should be aware of measles symptoms. 

“If you, or a loved one is feeling unwell and you think it might be measles, please stay at home and phone your doctor to avoid spreading the illness.  Your doctor will make the necessary arrangements to assess you safely without infecting other people.  You can also call Healthline for free advice on 0800 611-116.” 

Dr Eyre congratulated the Public and Pacific Health teams, and primary care for the work they had done, thus far, to reduce the spread of measles and were continuing to work on the approach of “stamping-out” the disease in Hawke’s Bay. 

Measles is a serious, highly infectious, potentially life-threatening disease that spreads easily via coughing and sneezing. Symptoms include a fever of 38.5C or higher along with a runny nose, cough, sore red eyes, followed by a rash three to five days later which starts on the head and spreads down the body. 

Dr Eyre said the Ministry of Health had updated its measles advisory and current national priorities for MMR vaccination given the 2019 measles outbreak in New Zealand and the Pacific.  For the latest information, visit the Ministry’s website at www.health.govt.nz 

MMR vaccination is recommended for unimmunised eligible people in New Zealand under the age of 50 travelling to or hosting people from Samoa, Tonga, Fiji, and the Philippines or from regions where there was an active outbreak of measles https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/watch/measles-global 

Two Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccines gives the best protection against the diseases. 

The MMR vaccine was free and offered to children on the immunisation schedule at 15 months and 4 years.

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