The measles outbreak in the Waikato has now spread to the South Island after a teenager, who recently visited Hamilton, contracted the disease.

The disease has also spread to Hamilton, with Fairfield College revealing it has an infected student.

Morrinsville College is closed today barring students and staff from returning until they can provide vaccination evidence.

However, medical officer of health Dr Ed Kiddle of the Nelson Marlborough Health Public Health Service had been following up people who had been in contact with the teenager who visited the Waikato to advise of any risk of measles to them.

Advertisement

READ MORE:
Morrinsville College bars students until they can prove they've been vaccinated

"Given the outbreak in Hamilton and the confirmation of a case of measles down here, people need to ensure they are protected through vaccination," Mr Kiddle said.

To help minimise its spread he urged people to be up-to-date with the measles mumps rubella [MMR] vaccinations and be alert to early symptoms, which include a fever which usually starts with a cough or runny nose and possibly sore, red eyes.

Morrinsville College was notified on Friday by the Waikato medical officer of health that one of its 736 students had contracted measles. The school was now legally obliged to follow his instructions in an attempt to stop the contagious disease spreading.

In a letter to parents and staff, acting principal Scott Jenkins announced the school would be closed today and would reopen on Tuesday to those who can provide written evidence they have received two MMR or measles vaccinations. All sporting fixtures this weekend were also cancelled.

Any students or teachers that had not received two vaccinations must stay home for a minimum of 14 days from their last known contact with the affected student.

Teachers born before 1969 were considered to have a natural immunity and could return to work immediately.

Mr Jenkins said the medical officer's instructions would cause "significant disruption to learning, sporting fixtures and would inconvenience many parents". He apologised but said the school had "absolutely no say in this matter".

The medical officer gave the school permission to stay open the remainder of Friday as students would not yet be in the contagious phase if they had contracted it.

MMR and measles records could be found in the person's Well Child Health book or provided by the person's GP.

Late last month Waikato Hospital revealed a staff member had worked with patients while not knowing that they had measles.

The staff member was infectious at the time, but hadn't developed any measles-like symptoms.

The area's district health board contacted all patients who had interactions with the staff member.

Measles is also spreading in Hamilton, with Fairfield College reporting it has an infected student.

This is the second school in the past week where an infected measles case has been confirmed. In total three schools have had cases with Nga Taiatea Wharekura school having a case in early April.

Waikato District Health Board's Population Health Service has asked students and staff at both Fairfield and Morrinsville College to ensure they are immunised against measles.

"Students and staff may have been exposed to this infection, and they should look out for symptoms," said medical officer of health Dr Richard Wall.

Both schools have been notified, advising all staff and students who do not have documented immunity to measles (such as having not had two doses of the Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR) vaccine), that they must stay at home in quarantine until Tuesday, May 24, (for Morrinsville College) and until Monday, May 23, for Fairfield College.

The Waikato District Health Board Population Health Service says that so far there are 22 confirmed cases of measles in the Waikato and 12 are under investigation.