A fifth case of measles was confirmed in Northland last week, resulting in more people being placed into isolation.

Medical Officer of Health Dr Virginia McLaughlin said a daycare centre had been identified in the contact tracing for the latest case, the centre, which she did not name, having elected to close.

"Given the impact of the isolation requirements on both staff and families, this is entirely reasonable for this situation," Dr McLaughlin said.

"The 14-day isolation period is up to and including Friday (this week) for those who do not have proof of immunity to measles.


"We understand the significant impact of isolation. However, this is the only way we can minimise the spread of this highly infectious disease," she added.

"Immunisation is the only way to prevent measles, which, make no mistake, can be a severe illness, but is easily prevented by vaccination. If you are not immune you will be placed in isolation if required."

Isolation meant staying at home and not having visitors who were not immune to measles, not using public transport, going to work, pre-school, school, visiting neighbours, friends or family, going to church or other places of worship, social or sports activities, movie theatres, supermarkets or shops etc.

The Public Health Nursing team was asking those who had been placed in isolation for their full co-operation and support, to ensure the rest of the community were protected.

"We have identified over 100 contacts with the most recent case, and are currently working to find who has or has not got evidence of immunity," Dr McLaughlin said.

"Please support your Northland DHB Public Health team and be vaccinated, and if you are asked to stay in isolation do so, because they are working hard to keep you all safer."

Those aged between 15 months and 50 years, who had not previously been vaccinated against measles, could be immunised at their general practice. Almost everyone aged 50 or older would have had measles as a child, and was therefore immune. Teenagers and young adults were least likely to have been immunised as young children.

"I can't emphasise enough the importance of everyone getting their immunisations up to date given the recent cases of measles in our community. Now is the time to act," she added.


Anyone who wasn't sure of their vaccination history should check their Well Child/Tamariki Ora (or Plunket) book, or ask their general practice.

The community also needed to be very aware of the symptoms of measles, which began with a fever, cough, runny nose and sore, red eyes. After three or four days a rash appears on the face and then spreads to the body.

Anyone believing they have been exposed to measles, or exhibiting symptoms, should not go to a hospital emergency department, after hours clinic or general practitioner. Instead call Healthline on 0800 611-116 for advice from a registered nurse. The service is free, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

More information can be found at www.northlanddhb.org.nz