Canterbury measles update

by Mike Isle

The number of confirmed measles cases in Canterbury has risen to 39, including the airline passenger on the Virgin Australia flight from last week. This case is not linked to the original outbreak that is circulating in the Canterbury region.

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

“We have enough vaccines to immunise those who need it most — people between 12 months and 28 years old 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 symptoms are a cough or runny nose or conjunctivitis, and a fever above 38.5C as well as 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.