Second Measles Case in Tāmaki Makaurau Linked to Overseas Travel
Recent Measles Case Raises Public Health Concerns
A second case of measles has been confirmed in Tāmaki Makaurau, unrelated to the previous case reported last week. Both instances of the disease are associated with recent overseas travel. The individual diagnosed with measles visited the emergency departments of North Shore Hospital and Waitakere Hospital on September 22 and 24, respectively. Public health officials and Te Whatu Ora – Waitematā staff are currently identifying and contacting people who may have come into contact with the infected person during their visits to these medical facilities. It is important to note that the person was not infectious during their flight into New Zealand earlier in September.
Busy Bees Hobsonville Early Learning Service Under Assessment
The individual diagnosed with measles also attended the Busy Bees Hobsonville early learning service while they were contagious from September 19 to 21. Public health authorities are in the process of assessing the immunity of staff and children at the early learning service. They are identifying and contacting individuals who may have been exposed to the infected person during this period and providing information on public health actions and support.
Understanding Measles and Its Symptoms
Dr Jay Harrower, a medical officer of health for the national public health service northern region, explained the symptoms and spread of measles. The initial symptoms of the disease include fever, cough, runny nose, and sore and watery pink eyes, followed by a blotchy rash. Measles can spread rapidly among individuals who are not immune. Immunity to measles can be achieved through two doses of the measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine, prior measles illness, or being born before 1969. Dr Harrower emphasized that two MMR vaccines are free for individuals aged 18 and under, as well as for New Zealand residents over 18 years old. He encouraged individuals who have not received the MMR vaccine or are unsure of their vaccination status to consult their healthcare provider.
Public Urged to Familiarize Themselves with Measles Symptoms
Public health officials are urging everyone to familiarize themselves with the symptoms of measles and to contact their healthcare provider if they suspect that anyone in their family has contracted the disease. Due to the highly contagious nature of measles, individuals who are displaying symptoms or are in quarantine should not visit healthcare facilities without first calling for advice. This precaution is taken to minimize the risk of spreading the virus to others.
Importance of Up-to-date Immunizations
In light of the recent measles cases linked to overseas travel, Dr Harrower is reminding people to keep their immunizations up-to-date. He reassured the public that there is no additional risk in receiving another dose of the MMR vaccine if individuals are unsure whether they have received one or two doses.
Previous Measles Case and the Risk of Infection
Last week, another individual was diagnosed with measles after returning from overseas. This person visited the Auckland City Hospital emergency department and a bakery in Takanini while they were infectious. Individuals who visited the same locations during the specified times are at risk of infection and should monitor for symptoms of measles. Close contacts not immune to measles will need to quarantine at home.
Subscribe to BNN Breaking
Sign up for our daily newsletter covering global breaking news around the world.