The National Public Health Service continues to make good progress in tracing people who may have come into contact with the one confirmed measles case that recently arrived in Aotearoa New Zealand.
There remains only one confirmed measles case. A number of exposure events or locations – some assessed as low-risk – are associated with this case, and all public health services across Aotearoa have been involved in the contact tracing. We ask that people who have been at these exposure events (Measles exposure events | Ministry of Health NZ) to follow the advice on the Ministry of Health website.
Public health continues to urge anyone who travelled to the ‘That Weekend’ festival on a chartered bus travelling to or from Willow St Tauranga and the Okoroire Hot Springs Hotel on Sunday 5 February – who is not immune to measles and has not been contacted by Public Health – to call Healthline (0800 611 116) immediately and to remain at home until they have been contacted.
While all known bus ticket purchasers have been contacted, Public Health wants to ensure that anyone who may have travelled on a ticket purchased by someone else receives the appropriate public health advice.
As at 8am today (Friday 17 February), a total of 84 confirmed contacts have been identified from these buses, of which 79 records have been closed as they have either been determined to be immune or not at risk of infection. Public health is still working to reach three of these contacts, and two people are in quarantine. Contacts who are fully vaccinated are not required to quarantine.
“Measles is highly infectious and can spread easily to people who are not immune, and public health staff have done really well in rapidly identifying and reaching out to these people who may have been in contact with this case,” said Te Whatu Ora spokesperson Dr Nick Chamberlain, Director, National Public Health Service.
Measles symptoms usually develop seven to 14 days after exposure. Symptoms include fever, cough, runny nose, sore and watery ‘pink’ eyes, followed by a blotchy rash.
“It must be reiterated that MMR vaccination is the best protection against measles, and the most important thing people can do to protect themselves is to ensure that they and their tamariki are immunised.
“MMR is given as two doses – if you’re not sure that you’ve had two doses, play it safe and get vaccinated. There are no safety concerns with having an extra dose. Te Whatu Ora – Health New Zealand, Te Aka Whai Ora, and the National Public Health Service remain committed to keeping people and whānau safe from measles.”
The MMR vaccine is free for everyone born after 1 January 1969. People are able to get vaccinated through GPs and medical centres, pharmacies, as well as through Māori and Pacific providers. We will also be undertaking outreach immunisation work to provide vaccinations in other settings in the community to increase vaccination rates and to keep people protected.
A dedicated Disability Helpline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to support disabled people. For measles or general enquiries call free on 0800 11 12 13 or text 8988 for help and information. People can also access this helpline using the NZ Relay Service for assistance www.nzrelay.co.nz.