One person remains in Tauranga Hospital following four confirmed cases of measles in the Mount Maunganui area.

This follows one case being confirmed in the region on Monday, following outbreaks in Christchurch and Auckland.

Toi Te Ora Medical Officer of Health Dr Jim Miller said the other three people had recovered of the four confirmed cases, which happened over three weeks.

Those who were ill or recently recovered were a mix of overseas visitors and residents and included a young adult in their 20s.

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It was not clear whether the recent cases were related to the country-wide outbreaks and further laboratory tests were awaited.

Miller said people should ensure they and their children have had the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine that protects against measles.

He said the supply of vaccines in the country was enough to cover routine immunisation.

Ōropi mother Sharon Smialowski said it was worrying not knowing where the infection had come from or who might be carrying it in the area.

"It is quite scary," she said.

Sharon Smialowski, holding 21-month-old son Thomas, is concerned about the measles outbreak. Photo / George Novak
Sharon Smialowski, holding 21-month-old son Thomas, is concerned about the measles outbreak. Photo / George Novak

Becoming a mother of her 21-month-old son had changed her perspective on immunisation and when her son was first born, she did not leave the house with him until he was vaccinated.

"Before I had children I didn't really care," she said.

Aimee Harborne said she would be forced to wear a mask in public and avoid the supermarket if there was an outbreak in Tauranga.

The Ōtūmoetai mother-of-one had Crohn's disease and took medicines which suppressed her immune system to manage the condition.

This meant she could not take live vaccines, including the MMR.

Harborne already took precautions in her day-to-day life to avoid getting ill, such as steering clear of her daughter's school. She ensured her and her family's vaccinations were up to date.

"Measles isn't nice ... I"m very opinionated about it," she said.

Rotorua-based Gemma Duggan, who decided to not vaccinate herself or her three children due to family history, was not concerned upon hearing of the Mount Maunganui case.

"Not at all - I know the signs, I know the symptoms."

She said she would take her children aged 15, 11, and 8, to the hospital if she had any concerns.

Newton Street Childcare manager Vicky Robertson said there had been no queries from concerned parents so far.

She said parents with children at the centre were "well-informed" and a notice about the first local measles case was distributed.

The centre encouraged immunisation but did not require that children were vaccinated. Parents of unimmunised children knew the dangers, Robertson said.

Mount Maunganui Intermediate School principal Lisa Morresey said no concerns had been raised yet and immunisations for students had run as usual.

Mount Maunganui College principal Alistair Sinton directed the Bay of Plenty Times to Toi Te Ora when contacted for comment.

Mount Maunganui Primary School principal Damien Harris could not be contacted for comment before deadline.

Toi Te Ora Public Health could not provide an update on whether there was a surge in vaccine requests since a case was confirmed on Monday.


About measles

• Measles is a highly infectious viral illness and is spread from person-to-person through the air by breathing, sneezing or coughing. Just being in the same room as someone with measles can lead to infection if you are not immune.

• Measles can be serious with around one in 10 people who get measles needing to be hospitalised.

• Early symptoms include a 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.

• Anyone who thought they had measles should stay home and call their doctor or Healthline to arrange an assessment, to avoid putting anyone else at risk.

• Anyone who thinks they have been exposed to measles or is exhibiting symptoms, should not go to the ED or after hours' clinic or general practitioner. Instead, call your GP any time, 24/7 for free health advice.

• For more information or advice on measles, please call Healthline on 0800 611 116 or see the Ministry of Health's measles page.