Quarantine in measles scare

HELEN HARVEY
Last updated 05:00 26/06/2014

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A North Taranaki child is suspected of having measles and two people have been quarantined as a precautionary measure.

Contacts of the suspected case are being followed up and if they are not immune, are being quarantined, Taranaki District Health Board Medical Officer of Health, Dr Greg Simmons said.

The process of identifying contacts only started yesterday, so more people may be quarantined as the investigation continues.

"Measles can be a very serious illness and one in three suffer developing complications such as ear infections, bronchitis and pneumonia," Simmons said.

In Hamilton there have been 77 cases of measles in recent weeks, and Waikato District Health Board public health unit is investigating about 14 other suspected cases from across Hamilton.

Of the 77 cases, only four have been immunised with two documented doses of the measles, mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine and three cases have received one documented dose of MMR.

Simmons said immunisation was the best protection against measles.

"It not only protects the individual, but stops spreading the disease in the community."

The symptoms of measles include runny nose, cough, fever, red eyes and after several days a rash develops on the face and chest. If families suspect someone has measles they should call their doctor before visiting, to avoid spreading the disease while waiting to be seen, he said.

People younger than 45 who have not had two doses of the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine or have not had a laboratory confirmed positive measles result are not immune to the disease. Neither are children over 4 who have not received their second dose of MMR and infants under the age of 15 months who have not received their first routine dose of MMR. The family of anyone showing signs of measles should telephone their doctor or Healthline on 0800 611 116 for advice.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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