A measles warning has been put out in Canterbury after a Christchurch man contracted the illness while holidaying in Bali.

The 23-year-old became aware of measles-like symptoms and laboratory testing confirmed measles today.

Dr Ramon Pink, Canterbury medical officer of health, said measles was highly infectious.

"The measles virus spreads easily from person to person through the air, via breathing, coughing and sneezing. It starts with fever, runny nose, cough, red eyes, and sore throat. This is followed by a rash that spreads over the body," he said.

"We're asking people who haven't been immunised and who may have been in contact with the case to keep a close eye out for these symptoms. If you develop symptoms phone a doctor and let them know that you have potentially been in contact with a confirmed measles case."

Pink and the team at Community and Public Health are busy contacting those who may have come into contact with the man to minimise the spread.

The case is currently in isolation and his infectious period ends on May 21.

"Unfortunately New Zealanders face a heightened risk of measles as a result of the decision by parents in the 1990s not to get their children immunised due to now discredited research on the link between the measles vaccine and autism.

"It is a timely reminder for everyone to check their immunisations are up-to-date. Measles cannot be treated once you get it so the only way to protect yourself is to be fully vaccinated. While it's important to get vaccines on time, every time, it's never too late. For more information on immunisation speak to your doctor."


People who were in the areas listed below are urged to phone their doctor 24/7 for "care around the clock" if they are concerned:

- Countdown at Northwood, Sunday, May 14 (5 to 6pm)
- Waiting room at ProMed Edgeware, Monday, May 15 (11am to 1.15pm) and Tuesday, May 16 (11am to 1.15pm)
- Southern Community Laboratory Blood Test Centre at Forte Health, Monday, May 15 (1 to 3pm) and Tuesday, May 16 (12noon to 2pm)
- Christchurch Hospital Emergency Department, Tuesday, May 16 (3.45pm to 9pm)

ARE YOU IMMUNE?

Community and Public Health says people are considered immune if they have:

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- received two doses of MMR vaccine and/or
- have had a previous measles illness and/or
- were born before 1969.