Auckland Regional Public Health Service (ARPHS) has been notified of another six new measles cases, taking the number of confirmed cases in Auckland for this year to 27.
Medical Officer of Health Dr William Rainger says ARPHS did expect an increase in numbers as holiday travel and public events can speed up transmission.
“Measles is highly infectious, with one person potentially infecting up to 15 others if they are not immune.
“ARPHS is still working to stamp out measles. The service has followed up over 1800 people who have been exposed to someone infectious with the virus,” Dr Rainger says.
“We are still contacting all those we know have been exposed to these people while infectious, and we are asking those who are not immune to watch for symptoms and stay at home.”
Adults under 50 years who haven’t had even one MMR dose should also get their free vaccination from their GP.
“This will protect themselves, their family members, workmates and the vulnerable, like infants under 15 months and non-immune pregnant women.
Those over 50 are considered immune as the disease was widespread in childhood. One MMR vaccine dose protects around 95 percent of the population, with a second dose protecting close to 99 percent.
“Our advice to people continues to be to watch for the signs and symptoms of measles – fever, cough, runny nose and sore red eyes. After three to five days, a rash appears on the face before moving down the body.”
Dr Rainger says people with measles can spread it to others even before they start feeling sick, so often don’t know that they might be exposing others.
“If you think you or your child has measles – or you’ve been in contact with someone you believe has the disease - it’s important to call your doctor or healthcare centre before turning up so you can be isolated on arrival.”