January 14, 2014
Measles outbreak crosses the ditch
Health authorities are urging Maori parents to check whether their children are immunised against what could be a new measles epidemic.
Over the holidays there have been 14 confirmed cases of measles in New Zealand, all linked to an outbreak in Sydney.
The large amount of travel at this time of the year means it is likely the highly infectious virus could spread quickly.
The existing cases are in Taupo, Turangi, Auckland and Wellington.
The last major epidemic of measles in New Zealand was in 1997 when 2000 people, mostly babies and children, were infected, and more than 300 needed hospital care.
Anyone who has not been immunised against measles is at risk.
In the Auckland region, only 57 percent of 18-month-old Maori babies have been vaccinated.
Symptoms include high fever, runny nose, coughing, sore, watery and red eyes, tiny white spots inside the mouth, three to five days after the initial symptoms.
For further information: Call Healthline 0800 611 116 or 0800 IMMUNE, or visit www.moh.govt.nz.
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