Taranaki DHB is strongly urging people to check their immunisation status following a confirmation of another case of measles in Taranaki.
Taranaki DHB medical officer of health, Dr Jonathan Jarman, says a 21-year-old unvaccinated New Plymouth woman is the latest case of measles; the third in Taranaki in the last six weeks.
"We have been unable to determine the source of the infection. It doesn't appear that she had contact with either of the previous two cases in Taranaki."
The Taranaki Public Health Unit are currently following up with people who are known to have been in contact with the case, but Dr Jarman says people who are fully vaccinated have nothing to fear from measles.
"Vaccination is highly effective and provides 95 per cent immunity after one injection and 99 per cent after two."
He says vaccination is important.
"I can't stress enough the importance of being vaccinated against this preventable disease. I strongly urge the Taranaki community to ensure they have received both doses of the required measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine. This is everyone's best protection."
Dr Jarman believes Taranaki as a community needs to achieve "public protection". This means immunisation coverage of 95 per cent is needed to help shield the population from serious diseases like measles.
"Measles is highly infectious and spreads through unvaccinated people. When you vaccinate your child, you're also protecting the people around them, including those who can't be vaccinated and those who have compromised immunity like people receiving cancer treatment," says Dr Jarman.
Measles is a severe illness where one in 10 people need to be hospitalised. It is highly contagious due to being an airborne disease.
As well as developing a rash people can suffer from a range of symptoms, including very high temperatures and a hacking cough that lasts for one to two weeks.
If you or anyone you know develops symptoms of measles, please stay at home and call Healthline (0800 611 116) or your doctor to alert them of the illness. It is important to give your doctor advance warning before turning up to a clinic with measles to prevent infecting others in the waiting room.
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 measles or 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. This can be done 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.