The mother of a toddler diagnosed with measles has joined a call from health authorities to vaccinate.
Jasmin Igglesden has been nursing her 14-month-old son, Luke, back to health for the past week. He contracted measles while in a Tauranga doctor's waiting room for an unrelated ailment on April 15.
Luke is one of at least 20 measles cases confirmed in the Bay of Plenty since the beginning of April. Of these, five people have been hospitalised.
Igglesden and her three sons, aged 14 months, 3 and 6, are all vaccinated.
Little Luke, however, was just a month short of receiving his first round of the Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine that is first given to children age 15 months.
"You never think it's going to happen to you and then it does."
While Luke was on the mend, Igglesden was surprised at how intense the potentially deadly illness was.
It stripped the life out of her "cheeky little entertainer," she said.
"He has been so, so sick ... It was just horrible."
"He'd just stare into space, there was nothing there. I couldn't get a smile out of him."
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Aside from being severely lethargic, Luke was plagued by a runny nose, a rash and poor sleep. While he usually had a hearty appetite, he didn't eat for three days while sick, she said.
"Usually, he's such a guts, he can eat anything in sight."
Igglesden used to live in Tauranga but has moved to Hamilton. She was in Tauranga visiting family when she took her two younger sons to a doctors clinic, as both boys had coughs.
Unfortunately, the trio's visit coincided with another patient's visit. That patient turned out to have measles.
Igglesden said Luke had only wandered around the waiting room, without touching or getting too close to any other person, but it was enough for him to pick up the extremely contagious illness.
Igglesden said the Ministry of Health notified her they might have been exposed and she rushed to get her boys vaccinated ahead of the usual immunisation schedule.
However, this was delayed as she was told there was a shortage of the vaccine in Tauranga. She was forced to wait to get her boys vaccinated until she was back in Hamilton three days later, she said.
Luke began to show symptoms of measles last Tuesday.
He developed red eyes, followed by the disease's signature red rash. Igglesden was advised to check his mouth for white spots. To her horror, she found that Luke's mouth dotted with them.
Luke's illness was professionally confirmed with a blood test and a "horrible nasal swabs that went down the back of his nose."
Igglesden urged others to get themselves and their kids vaccinated - and early, if possible.
If she had known more about the illness, would have opted to get his 15-month immunisations ahead of schedule, she said.
Toi Te Ora Medical Officer of Health Dr Neil de Wet confirmed that a person with measles had been at the same clinic on the same day that Igglesden visited,
The Bay of Plenty District Health Board was working closely with the Ministry of Health, he said, and there was enough supply of MMR vaccines to service current demand in the Bay of Plenty.
He urged people who suspected they might have measles to call the hospital or clinic ahead of visiting to prevent the spread of the illness.
Confirmed measles cases by Bay of Plenty district:
Western Bay - 16
Eastern Bay - 0
Rotorua - 0
Taupō - 4
For more information
Toi Te Ora Public Health website: www.toiteora.govt.nz/measles
Immunisation Advisory Centre free phone: 0800 IMMUNE (0800 466 863)
Immunisation Advisory Centre website: www.immune.org.nz
Ministry of Health 2019 measles outbreak information: www.health.govt.nz/your-health/conditions-and-treatments/diseases-and-illnesses/measles/2019-measles-outbreak-information
Ministry of Health website: www.health.govt.nz/measles
Don't Assume You're Immune website: www.getimmunised.org.nz