Measles outbreak hits Waiheke Island

AMY MAAS
Last updated 17:49 20/10/2011

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The measles outbreak which has infected more than 200 Aucklanders has now spread to Waiheke Island.

A 17-year-old resident on the island recently tested positive for the disease, Dawn Rigby, Manager of the Waiheke Trust said.

It is not known where the teenager contracted measles, but because of the school holidays his contact with others had been limited.

There were no other suspected cases on Waiheke.

Since the measles outbreak began in May there had been 229 confirmed cases of the disease in Auckland.

Health officials were urging anyone who hadnot been immunised against the disease to be vaccinated.

The Ministry of Health was working with the three Auckland district health boards to ensure there was a sufficient supply of the measles vaccine, as the disease continued to spread.

Officials would administer the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine to anyone who was not immunised, free of charge.

The best protection against the disease was to have two doses of the MMR vaccine.

It was vital people born after January 1, 1969, check their immunisation status and if they were not vaccinated, or had only received one dose of the vaccination, they should arrange an MMR vaccination.

General practitioners would now allow children of 12 months to receive their first vaccination rather than at 15 months, with the second one being given 28 days later, instead of at the age of four.

Doctors had also been asked by the district health boards to contact all children between the ages of four and 15 who had not had two vaccinations.

The symptoms of measles included fever, cough, runny or blocked nose, sore red eyes and white spots inside the mouth, with a rash appearing on the face and spreading down the body after three to five days.

Anyone who had these symptoms, or who had been in contact with someone who has measles, was urged to stay at home and call their doctor, or Healthline on 0800 611 116.

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