Immunise children, warns health authority

REBECCA TODD AND MARC GREENHILL
Last updated 05:00 17/02/2011

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A Melbourne woman struck down with measles during a Christchurch visit says the infection put her "completely out action" for most of her two-week stay.

The Canterbury Community and Public Health said on Tuesday there had been three confirmed cases of measles in Christchurch this month, and warned parents to immunise their children.

The first infection came after contact with a person with measles arrived in New Zealand from Sydney in January. The second was a Melbourne woman visiting Christchurch for a wedding. The third is a secondary school pupil. Two were not immunised and one had had only one MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccination.

Melbourne resident Zoe Jopson, the second person infected, was visiting Christchurch for two weddings when she became ill.

"At first I thought it was just flu, but it got bad pretty quick. I thought it was something serious when the rash got worse, but the measles never came to mind."

The symptoms, including a constant fever and a rash, put her "completely out of action" after the weddings.

Jopson was immediately quarantined after being diagnosed, and was asked to provide health officials with a full guest lists for the weddings. She had not been immunised against measles and was concerned about the possible impact of her contact with others during her visit.

A Canterbury District Health Board spokeswoman said yesterday that the immunisations co-ordinators had received a "handful of inquiries" since the news broke.

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