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Measles hits five schools

FLORENCE KERR
Last updated 05:00 28/06/2014

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Five Waikato schools are now confirmed to have been caught up in the region's measles outbreak; however, the spread of the disease is slowing.

The schools with confirmed cases are Fraser High School, Hamilton Boys' High School, Frankton Primary School, Nga Taiatea Wharekura and Raglan Area School.

The schools are working closely with the district health board to ensure the outbreak is contained and that students who have been immunised provide records of their jabs.

Hamilton Boys' High School deputy headmaster Graham Robinson said several of their sports teams would play today because immunisation records had been checked.

There are now 84 confirmed cases of measles and 15 suspected cases, up from 77 cases earlier in the week.

Waikato District Health Board medical officer of health Dr Anita Bell said diagnoses of measles had slowed to one a day, but said this was not an indication the disease had stopped spreading.

"In the beginning we had quite a number of cases in quite a small time frame. The rest, the last 40, have been in a much longer time frame. So it's slowed down as such. However we encourage people, especially in the 10-20-year-old age group to get immunised," she said.

A quarter of the cases that had come to light recently were siblings of those infected three weeks ago.

Bell said confirmed cases had been contained to Hamilton and Raglan but the disease could still spread nationwide, with one suspected case in Taranaki.

"We hope the message is getting out to other towns, not just Waikato. The best thing to do is to try and get as many people fully immunised [as possible]."

Of the 84 cases, only four have been immunised with two documented doses of the measles, mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine. Four cases have received one documented dose of MMR.

About 40 people with measles-like symptoms have been investigated and were found not to have the disease.

Non-immunised people who have had contact with a person with measles are advised to stay at home and away from all public places, school or work for 14 days after their contact. "Anyone born before 1969 or who has received two doses of MMR can reasonably assume they are already immune," Bell said.

If families suspect someone has measles they should call their doctor before visiting to avoid spreading the disease while waiting. Bell said anyone with measles symptoms, which include fever, cough, blocked nose, sore red eyes, should immediately telephone their doctor or Healthline on 0800 611 116.

MEASLES IMMUNITY

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People who are regarded as not immune to measles are:

Younger than 45 (born after January 1, 1969) who have not had two doses of the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine or have not had a laboratory confirmed positive measles result.

Children over 4 who have not received their second dose of MMR vaccine.

Infants under the age of 15 months who have not received their first routine dose of MMR vaccine. 

- Waikato Times

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