Measles case confirmed in Canterbury

by Mike Isle

A Canterbury infant has been confirmed as having measles; it is now more important than ever that everyone ensures they are fully vaccinated against measles, said the District Health Board.

The infant and family returned to Christchurch from Auckland where there is a major measles outbreak, with more than 300 confirmed cases to date.

It is thought that this is where they contracted the highly infectious disease.

The infant had not yet received their first dose of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine, which is routinely given at 15 months, with a second one at four years of age.

The District Health Board is advising anyone who was in Christchurch Hospital Emergency Department on Friday, July 19 between 10pm and 3.45am the next day, or on Sunday, July 21 between 11.40pm and 1.40am the next morning should remain isolated until Monday, August 5, unless they are sure that they have had two MMR vaccinations or are more than 50 years of age.

Dr Alistair Humphrey, Canterbury Medical Officer of Health, said that people are infectious from five days before the onset of the rash until five days after the rash appears, so it is possible to transmit the infection before you feel unwell.

“People who have been exposed to a case and who are not immune should remain isolated from 7 to 14 days after their exposure.

“This means staying home from school or work and having no contact with unimmunised people. If you are not sure whether you are immune telephone your GP — they can advise you,” he said.