Children and adults who were at a Seventh Day Adventist camp in Rotorua may need to go into quarantine if not immune to measles, after being exposed to the virus during the school holidays.
Auckland Regional Public Health Service (ARPHS) is working with the Adventists Pathfinders North New Zealand camp organisers and other public health units around the North Island to alert 1200 camp-goers to the risk of measles.ARPHS Clinical Director Dr Julia Peters says the Auckland child was infectious on October 5 and 6. Those who were at the Tui Ridge Park camp on these days, and who are not immune, may be developing measles now.
ARPHS has sent other public health units the contact details of the attendees in their regions, so units can advise people at the camp about their risk and what action to take. The children at the camp were aged between four to 15 years.
“Parents of these children will need to check vaccination records in their child’s Well Child book or with their doctor. Adults under 50 years at the camp should also ask their doctor about their immunity. Those over 50 years are considered immune as they would have been exposed to measles as a child.
“If camp-goers are not immune they will need to stay home in quarantine from today until the end of October 20.
“While they may not show any signs of measles yet, people can spread measles five days before they develop a rash,” says Dr Peters.
Around 1000 of the attendees from the camp are from Auckland, with the rest from Hamilton, Lower Hutt, Wellington, Tauranga, Rotorua and Manawatu.
Anyone who was at the camp should be vigilant for symptoms of the highly infectious disease; high fever, runny nose, cough and sore red eyes. A few days later a rash starts on the face and neck, and then spreads to the rest of the body, says Dr Peters.
If a child may have been exposed to the virus, parents can talk to their doctor or call Healthline on 0800 611 116 for advice on checking immunity. Their local public health unit can also offer advice.
There are translators available through Healthline, and ARPHS has an information sheet in Tongan and in Samoan for people who have been exposed to measles. These are on its website www.arphs.health.nz/tongan-measles-translation.
“If you do start to develop symptoms that could be measles, contact your doctor. Be sure to call ahead to prevent potentially infecting others in the waiting room,“ says Dr Peters.
For more information or advice on measles, please call Healthline on 0800 611 116, ring your local public health unit, or visit the Ministry of Health website.