Taranaki District Health Board Public Health Unit is urging people to check their immunisation status after being notified of a confirmed case of measles in Taranaki.
The person travelled on an Air New Zealand flight from Auckland to New Plymouth, and has also visited Megabounce Trampoline Arena in New Plymouth in the days following.
Taranaki DHB Chief Medical Advisor Dr Greg Simmons says people who may have been in contact with that person should be vigilant for symptoms of the highly infectious airborne disease.
"Measles spreads easily via coughing and sneezing. Symptoms include a fever of 38.5C or higher along with a runny nose, cough, sore red eyes, followed by a rash three to five days later which starts on the head and spreads down the body. Complications are common with measles and about one in 10 people will need hospital treatment," says Dr Simmons.
The potential times and locations of exposure are:
Sunday July 7: 10:05am – 10:55am On board Air New Zealand Flight 5307
(Auckland to New Plymouth)
10:55am – 11:55am: New Plymouth Airport.
Tuesday July 9 3:45pm – 5pm: Megabounce Trampoline Arena, New Plymouth.
Anyone who was on the same flight or has visited Megabounce around the same time as the person should watch out for measles symptoms from approximately Sunday 14 July.
"It usually take seven to 14 days to start experiencing measles symptoms and you are most at risk if you're not immune, either because you haven't had both doses of the Measles, Mumps Rubella (MMR) vaccine, or you haven't had the disease previously.
"People are infectious from five days before the rash appears to five days after, therefore anyone with measles needs to be isolated from the time they become ill until five days after the rash has appeared," says Dr Simmons.
If you start to develop symptoms that could be measles, or have been in contact with anyone who is a confirmed case please, phone your GP or contact Healthline on 0800 611 116. Be sure to call before visiting your GP to prevent infecting others.
Now is also the time to consider if you are immune to measles or not.
• Those born before 1969 are considered immune.
• Those born in 1969 or later are considered 'fully immunised' against measles when they have two documented MMR vaccinations, with the first dose received when aged 12 months or older.
• Evidence suggests that one dose of measles or MMR vaccine protects 95 per cent of people from developing measles. The other five per cent may need a second vaccination to be fully covered.
Those who are unsure of their immunity status should get it checked through GPs, though some people may also have physical written records at home – like a Plunket or WellChild book – which may detail their immunisations.
Any child immunised after 2005 will have their immunisations recorded on the National
Immunisation Register, which GPs have access to.
"Vaccination with the MMR vaccine offers the best protection against measles, therefore we strongly recommend those who have had no measles immunisation or infection should get vaccinated.
"People need to ensure they have had both doses of the MMR vaccine as this provides protection for themselves and others," says Dr Simmons.
■ For more information or advice on measles, please call Healthline on 0800 611 116, visit the Taranaki DHB or Ministry of Health websites.