Measles warning after confirmed case in Bay

By Rebecca Savory

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Phil Shoemack medical officer of health.
Phil Shoemack medical officer of health.

The Bay of Plenty has had its first confirmed case of measles in more than six months.

An expat New Zealander visited the Western Bay of Plenty two weeks ago but after leaving the country discovered she had the virus.

The confirmed case was the first in the Bay of Plenty since December 23 last year.

It joined a raft of confirmed measles cases sweeping the North Island with Waikato District Health Board confirming the most, with 96 cases.

Bay of Plenty medical officer of health Phil Shoemack said the woman may have been infectious during her last 24 hours in the Bay.

"When she got back to her country she got ill and has since been told she has measles ... We were advised about Wednesday last week."

People who had contact with the woman during her time here had been contacted and were not at risk of catching the virus, he said.

The Ministry of Health advised two doses of the measles vaccine would protect against the virus.

Associate Health Minister Jo Goodhew said a spate of new measles cases dotted around the North Island highlighted the need for people to check if they had been immunised.

"Measles is a serious and highly-infectious disease, and this flurry of new cases shows just how easily it can spread," Mrs Goodhew said.

Since the end of December 2013, there had been more than 200 cases of measles in New Zealand. The majority of cases had been in children and teenagers aged 10 to 20 years.

"With the school holidays only days away, parents should be mindful that families and children could be exposed to measles, especially if they are travelling, attending events or school camps, or have friends and family travelling to visit them," she said.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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