Ministry of Health urges those traveling to New Zealand to ensure they have been vaccinated


Measles is back in New Zealand and travelers arriving in the country are encouraged to ensure they have been immunized against the disease.

All cases of the highly contagious virus originate from people traveling to the country from abroad since 2012, the Ministry of Health said.

However, a fourth case of measles was confirmed in Canterbury at the same time a case was confirmed in Auckland.

The Auckland Public Health Service said the person attended Clendon Medical Center on February 19, 20 and 21.

The person appears to have been transferred by the medical center on February 21 because he was evaluated at Middlemore Hospital around 5:00 p.m.

Doctor Jay Harrower said that all patients in the medical center or in Middlemore at the same time may have been exposed.

An outbreak of measles vaccines in 2016. Photo / Rod Emmerson
An outbreak of measles vaccines in 2016. Photo / Rod Emmerson

"We will get in touch with people who have been close to the case, but to ask everyone who has been to these two places on those days be aware of the symptoms," he said.

"They should call their doctor or call Healthline at 0800 611-116 for advice.

"If you do not feel well, please do not show up. It is important to call first because measles is highly infectious and you can infect others in the waiting room."

The first symptoms of measles are fever and runny nose or cough or red eyes before a red rash develops in the days ahead.

The rash usually begins in the face area before it spreads to other parts of the body and can last up to a week.

The Health Ministry's director of public health, Caroline McElnay, said children are the most at risk of contracting the disease.

In New Zealand, immunization is usually given to children 15 months and then 4 years of age.

"It is important to note that the MMR vaccine is safe for children as young as 6 months," McElnay said.

"In addition, MMR vaccination is free of charge. Two doses of the MMR vaccine offer lasting immunity, protecting at least 95% of people."


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