There have now been 96 cases of measles reported in New Zealand so far this year, with most cases linked to outbreaks in Canterbury and the Auckland Region over recent weeks.
In addition to the recent outbreaks in New Zealand, there have been measles outbreaks reported in other countries including the US, Philippines and parts of Europe.
In New Zealand, measles outbreaks start when measles is brought into the country following international travel. The virus then spreads to others in the community because the country’s vaccination rates are not high enough to prevent disease spread.
ESR Group Leader, Intelligence, Dr Lisa Oakley says people should be mindful of the risks of measles.
“Measles is a serious and highly infectious disease and immunisation is the best protection to stop the spread of getting measles.”
For the best protection, people need to have two MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccinations. The MMR is available from your family practice and you should ask if you are eligible for a free vaccination.
Anyone who suspects they may have measles should avoid contact with other people, especially those who aren’t fully immunised, and 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 including current case numbers is available here: https://surv.esr.cri.nz/surveillance/WeeklyMeaslesRpt.php (external link)