Measles outbreak at Hamilton high school

AMANDA PARKINSON
Last updated 14:45 09/06/2014

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Students at a Hamilton school have been plagued by a possible measles outbreak.

Waikato District Health Board medical officer of health Dr Anita Bell said she had confirmed eight cases of the deadly virus from Fraser High School, but that number could balloon out to more than 35. 

''Nearly all possible cases have been linked to Fraser High,'' she said. 

The patients identified were between 13 and 19 years of age and had been mostly treated by local GPs.

''The cases really started to roll in at the end of last week,'' Bell said.

 Patient swabs have been sent to Christchurch to confirm the presence of the virus, but at this stage no-one had been admitted to hospital for more than one night. 

Parents from Fraser High have been notified of the outbreak.


What is measles?

  • Measles is a highly infectious viral disease that can be serious.
  • It is spread from person to person through the air by breathing, sneezing or coughing. Just being in the same room as someone with measles can lead to infection if you are not immune.

Who is at risk of measles infection?

People are at risk of getting measles if they are not immune to measles. People who are regarded as not immune to measles are:

  • People younger than 45 years old (born after 01 January 1969) who have not had two doses of the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine
  • Infants under the age of 15 months who have not received their first routine dose of MMR vaccine. They are susceptible and rely on everyone else to be immune so that measles does not spread to them.
  • Children over 4 years old who have not received their second dose of MMR.

What should you do?

  • Ensure you are up to date with your immunisations.
  • If you are not immune it is important to be aware of the symptoms of measles. The early symptoms of measles are fever, runny nose, sore red eyes and cough.
  • After 3-5 days a red, blotchy rash appears on the face and head and then spreads down the body.

If you develop symptoms of measles:

  • Stay at home and away from public places (such as sports events, gatherings, parties, school, work, child care, shopping centres, public transport and so on).
  • See your doctor as soon as possible so a diagnosis can be confirmed. However, phone the surgery ahead to alert them of your symptoms and to allow them to make arrangements to assess you safely and without infecting other people
  • If you are unable to visit your GP phone Healthline on 0800 611 116.

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- Waikato Times

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