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Measles outbreak reaches Dunedin

Updated 3 October

More new measles cases have been confirmed this afternoon taking the total number of Southern DHB cases to 57 . This includes a Dunedin resident.

Public Health South are currently following up close contacts of the new cases to identify unvaccinated and vulnerable people that may have been exposed to measles. If asked by public health to be isolated then please do so. This will help contain the outbreak and protect vulnerable people who are susceptible as they are unable to be vaccinated.

“Vulnerable people include those that are pregnant, immune compromised or too young to be vaccinated,” says Southern DHB’s Medical Officer of Health Dr Susan Jack.

“Close contact with a measles case means sharing a confined space such as a house, classroom, car or other indoor area.”

GPs are reminding parents to check the immunisation status of their children and to make an appointment if they are due or late for their 15 month and/or 4 year MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella) vaccination. Any child under five who has not already received MMR 1 and MMR 2, will be prioritised for vaccination.

 

The confirmed Dunedin measles case was known to be infectious at these places and times: 

DUNEDIN    
U-bar Cumberland Street Wednesday 25 September Late evening
Silent Disco Lone Star Thursday 26 September Late evening
New World (Gardens) Friday 27 September Late afternoon
Café at St Clair Saturday 28 September Late afternoon
Mac’s Brew Bar Saturday 28 September Late evening
Vault 21 Saturday 28 September Late evening
Unipol gym Tuesday 1 October Late afternoon

University first year business and law lectures

Monday 23 September – Tuesday 2 October Various times

 

Anyone who thinks they might have been exposed to measles should watch out for symptoms and isolate themselves immediately if they start to get sick. Please call your GP practice in advance if you are seeking care.

Measles symptoms include cough, runny nose, inflamed eyes, fever followed a few days later by a rash.

Unvaccinated people who have had direct contact with measles cases should get advice from Healthline on 0800 611 116.

 

The Immunisation Advisory Centre has provided up to date information about measles immunity and the MMR vaccine on their website:

https://www.immune.org.nz/hot-topic/measles-overseas-and-new-zealand

 

Where can I get more information?

For more information on measles please visit the Ministry of Health website.

 

FAQs

Q: My family can’t remember if I’m vaccinated, how do I find out if I am?

A: You need to check your vaccination records in your Well Child - Tamariki Ora/Plunket Book (or similar) or your primary care provider may have records. You can also pay Southern Community Laboratories and obtain a blood test to check your immunity. Ask for a measles serology test. If you are identified as a close contact of a measles case Public Health may request measles serology for you to check your immunity.

 

Q: I did not receive the booster after the first vaccine, am I safe?

A: One MMR offers 95 per cent of people immunity to measles, it still provides gaps in our community coverage against measles. To ensure you are 99 per cent protected against measles, you should have a second MMR as this vaccine also protects against mumps and rubella.

 

Q: I received the MMR and Booster when I was a child. Should I get another booster?

A: No. If you have had two measles vaccines at any point, you are considered protected.

 

Q: What does isolation mean?

A: It means staying home away from others. Do not go to lectures, work, school, group or social activities, sports, or public places like movie theatres, shopping malls, supermarkets and other food markets. Do not use public transport or visit friends or family. Avoid being in the same room as people who are not immune to measles.

For more in-depth FAQs, please visit the University of Otago website.