Rebecca Quilliam

Rebecca Quilliam is senior reporter at the APNZ News Service office in Wellington.

School events cancelled due to measles outbreak

Waikato DHB’s Population Health service had 84 confirmed measles cases as of late last week. Photo / file
Waikato DHB’s Population Health service had 84 confirmed measles cases as of late last week. Photo / file

Sports, cultural events, school trips and dances have been cancelled or postponed in some Waikato schools after an outbreak of the measles.

Five Waikato schools now had confirmed cases of measles, Waikato District Health Board medical officer of health Anita Bell said.

The spread was largely associated with Fraser High School, but also caught in the outbreak were Hamilton Boys' High School, Frankton Primary School, Nga Taiatea Wharekura and Raglan Area School.

"The schools have all been informed and are taking the necessary action to prevent further transmission within the schools," Dr Bell said.

On its website, Fraser High School said it had cancelled or postponed all sporting, cultural and academic trips for the remainder of term two.

All Fraser sports teams would also no longer participate in sports competitions for the remainder of the term.

And all visitors to the school and appointments may be postponed or cancelled for the rest of the term.

The School Ball was also postponed until August 23, the website said.

A message on Frankton Primary School's website said that the school disco and sports teams events had been cancelled.

The school's talent show had also been cancelled.

Waikato DHB's Population Health service had 84 confirmed measles cases as of late last week.

Twenty-one of those cases were household contacts of confirmed cases and had already been placed in quarantine before they were unwell.

Six patients had been hospitalised but were now well, Dr Bell said. Of the 84 cases, four had been immunised with two documented doses of the measles, mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine and four had received one documented dose of MMR. Population Health was investigating about another 15 suspected cases from throughout the city, Dr Bell said.

"It's important that with the spread outside of the Fraser High School community, that people make themselves aware of the signs and symptoms of measles and to check their child's immunity status," she said.

"Measles can be a very serious illness, with one in three sufferers experiencing complications such as ear infections, pneumonia, bronchitis or diarrhoea," Dr Bell said.

"While one in 10 on average requires hospitalisation, admission rates in this outbreak have been higher."

Measles was spread by tiny droplets in the air and is one of the few diseases that can spread so easily to those nearby.

What is measles?

* measles is a highly infectious viral disease that can be serious;
* it is spread from person to person through the air by breathing, sneezing or coughing.

Who is at risk of measles infection?

* people younger than 45-years-old who had not had two doses of the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine;
* infants under the age of 15 months who had not received their first routine dose of MMR vaccine;
* children over 4-years-old who had not received their second dose of MMR.

What should you do?

* ensure you are up to date with your immunisations;
* if you are not immune it is important to be aware of the symptoms of measles - early symptoms of measles are fever, runny nose, sore red eyes and cough;
* after three to five days a red, blotchy rash appears on the face and head and then spreads down the body.

If you develop symptoms of measles:

* stay at home and away from public places;
* see your doctor as soon as possible so a diagnosis can be confirmed, however, phone the surgery ahead to alert them of your symptoms and to allow them to make arrangements to assess you safely and without infecting other people; and
* if you are unable to visit your GP phone Healthline on 0800 611 116.

(source: Waikato DHB)

- APNZ

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