Measles confirmed in East Coast visitor

Measles symptoms

The person who attended two community events in Tokomaru Bay and Waipiro Bay on 20 September has been confirmed as having measles. Other people attending these events have been provided with advice via email, social media and health care staff including quarantine instructions until this Friday if not immune.

The events were:

  • Kei te Aha Te Reo symposium at Pakirikiri Marae, Tokomaru Bay
  • Tangi at Iritekura Marae, Waipiro Bay (at approx. 3-6pm)

The person also spent time at Gisborne Airport on Tuesday 24 September between 11.45am- 1.40pm, and then travelled to Auckland on flight NZ 8170. 

People who were at the airport during this time and up to two hours after this time, or on this flight, are at risk of developing measles if they are not immune. People over 50 and those that have had measles or two MMR vaccinations – usually given at 15 months and 4 years – are considered immune.

 For people without immunity who were in contact with the person with confirmed measles symptoms are likely to start between Tuesday 1 October and Tuesday 8 October, says Medical Officer of Health Dr Margot McLean.

 “They are advised to be aware of the signs and symptoms of measles. They can call Healthline for advice on 0800 611 116.  Early symptoms of measles are a fever, cough, runny nose and red eyes. The rash comes on after 3-5 days, and usually develops at the head and then becomes widespread over the body.”

 “Because of the large number of possible contacts on both these dates it is quite likely that other cases will occur in Tairawhiti over the next week. If you suspect that you have measles please contact your health centre for advice, BY PHONE. Do not visit as you will spread to others. The doctor or nurse will give you advice and if they need to see you will arrange a time when there are no other people around.”

 Over 30% of the people who have been diagnosed with measles during this national outbreak have needed hospital admission. Unimmunised young children are at the highest risk of measles and its complications. MMR vaccine is available and free for any children under five who are not up to date with their 15 month and 4-year-old vaccinations.

WHAT TO DO IF YOU WERE AT THESE EVENTS/AIRPORT AT THESE TIMES

  • If you are over 50 years of age you are probably immune to measles – you don’t need to do anything
  • If you are under 50, check whether you have had at least one vaccination. If you are not able to access these records and you are not sure, you can get a blood test to check whether you are immune.
  • If you have not been immunised you are at risk of getting measles. To stop this from spreading to other people, you need to stay in ‘QUARANTINE’ until Friday 4 October. Quarantine means you stay at home and do not go to work or social gatherings or meet up with new people..
If you have questions regarding quarantine or what you should do, contact the Hauora Tairāwhiti health protection officer or the medical officer of health on-call, via the Gisborne Hospital switchboard, 06-869 0500. You can also call Healthline for advice on 0800 611 116.

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