Canterbury measles update

by Mike Isle

The number of confirmed measles cases in Canterbury has gone up two to 30, with another under investigation. Canterbury Medical Officer of Health Dr Ramon Pink said he is pleased the number has slowed, but there is no room for complacency.

“Measles is incredibly infectious, and we can’t be complacent. The only way to prevent its spread is immunisation,” Dr Pink said.

“We have enough vaccines to immunise those who need it most — people aged between 12 months and 28 years who have never been immunised.”

Over time the vaccine will be made available to other priority groups.

Dr Pink said people born after 1969 who have never been immunised, or who have measles-like symptoms, should stay away from large events or gatherings.

“Those who are susceptible to measles need to be aware that it is circulating in our community. Unvaccinated people can easily catch measles if they are in close contact with infectious people, so staying away from large groups helps to protect yourself and others.”

The symptoms of measles are a cough, or runny nose or conjunctivitis, and a fever above 38.5C and a rash.

Dr Pink said that anyone who believed they have been exposed to measles or have symptoms should call your general practice first, 24/7. Calls made to general practices after hours will be answered by a nurse who will advise you what to do and where to go if you need to be seen.

Meanwhile, the Canterbury District Health Board has advised that all outpatient appointments at its hospitals are going ahead, as usual, this week, following their cancellations after the mosque attacks on Friday.