Measles outbreak in Hastings

MARTY SHARPE
Last updated 09:51 08/04/2011

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A measles outbreak among Hastings children has led authorities to urge locals to check they are immunised.

Six cases of English measles have been confirmed in the past week.

Hawke's Bay DHB medical officer of health Caroline McElnay said measles can make people very sick, is highly infectious and can be spread by breathing, sneezing and coughing.

Measles patients can also suffer from complications such as ear infection, pneumonia or diarrhoea and although rare it can cause serious diseases such as brain inflammation.

She urged parents to ensure their children are up-to-date with their childhood vaccinations.

Dr McElnay also advised adults who were born after 1969 to check with their GP as they may also not be immune.

English Measles is a virus infection which starts with red eyes, runny nose, cough and fever. After a few days a skin rash develops.

People who have not been immunised are more likely to catch the disease and pass it on to others.

Anyone over the age of one year, who was born after 1969 and who has not had two doses of measles vaccine in the past is eligible for free measles immunisation.

Measles is highly infectious and is spread from person to person through the air by sneezing or coughing. Just being in the same room as someone with measles for as little as an hour can result in infection.

Parents are advised to check their children are up-to-date with immunisations. If unsure they should contact their family doctor. Parents can also contact the National Immunisation Register (NIR) for the immunisation history of children under 5 years of age (born after 23 May 2005).

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- The Dominion Post

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