Aucklanders have been exposed to measles virus by a sick person at four locations.

The region's public health service has warned people to be alert for symptoms of the serious illness if they were at any of the four places - a hostel, a cafe, a medical clinic and a hospital - at specific times.

Medical Officer of Health Dr Michael Hale has confirmed a measles alert linked to the four locations in central Auckland and Newmarket.

Visitors to these places at the listed times are likely to have been exposed to the virus and if they are not immune - from vaccination or a previous dose of the disease - could fall sick with a dose. The locations are times are:

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• K Road City Travellers Hostel, Karangahape Rd, August 8-13,
• Zarbo deli & café, Newmarket, August 10, 2.30-5pm and August 11, 9am-2pm,
• The Auckland City Doctors waiting room, Queen St, August 9, 10am-1pm, and
• Auckland City Hospital adult emergency department waiting room August 13, 7am-1pm.

Public Health said those infected are likely to experience symptoms from 7 days after exposure to the virus. The first symptoms are a fever, and one or more of a runny nose, cough and sore red eyes. After a few days a red blotchy rash starts on the face and spreads to the rest of the body.

"People who are feeling unwell and have visited these locations at the times suggested should immediately telephone their doctor or Healthline on 0800-611-116 for advice. It is very important to phone in advance because measles is highly infectious and you could infect other people in the medical waiting room," said Dr Hale.

The illness is infectious before the rash appears and is easily transmitted. If you are not immune you can contract the disease by walking past an infected person or by being next to them in a lift, café or waiting room.

Public Health said visitors to any of the four locations during the specified times would need to stay at home in isolation for 14 days after exposure to the disease if they are not immune to measles or are unsure about their measles immunity and haven't had a blood test to confirm their immune status.

People were considered immune if they had received two doses of the measles vaccine, had had measles disease or were born before 1969. Those who had received only one dose of the vaccine should see their doctor for a free second dose

"My plea is that people follow medical instructions if they are required to be in isolation," Dr Hale said. "For everyone else it's a timely reminder 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."

Many people underestimated measles, he said. It could be a nasty disease causing serious long term health complications.