About Measles 2019

Information is available from the Ministry of Health. Some information is available here.

  • Measles is highly contagious – and easily preventable.
  • It affects both children and adults.
  • Two doses of the measles vaccine provides the most effective protection for yourself, your family and the wider community. After one dose of the MMR vaccine, about 95% of people are protected from measles. After two doses, more than 99% people are protected.
  • In New Zealand, if you were born in 1969 or later, you can get the measles vaccine for free.
  • Vaccination is particularly important if you are planning to travel anywhere overseas – to protect yourself and to help prevent outbreaks in New Zealand.

Stopping the spread

Measles is a highly infectious airborne virus which affects both children and adults. If you think you have measles, it’s important to call before visiting your doctor to avoid you spreading the virus in the waiting room.

If you’re feeling sick, you should stay away from work, school or public places, to help prevent putting other people at risk.

This also applies if you or a family member aren’t fully immunised and may have been in contact with someone with measles.

By isolating yourself you will help protect vulnerable people including babies, pregnant women, cancer patients and others who are unable to be immunised and for whom the impact of the disease can be devastating.

If you catch measles, you can infect others from five days before the rash appears until five days after the rash appears (counting the day of rash onset as day 1).

Measles complications

Measles can be life threatening: about 1 in 10 people with measles will need hospital treatment.

Measles can also lead to other complications, including:

  • ear infections (which can cause permanent hearing loss)
  • diarrhoea
  • pneumonia
  • seizures
  • swelling of the brain – this is rare, but can cause permanent brain damage or death.

Up to 30% of people with measles will develop complications – usually children under 5 and adults over the age of 20.

Measles during pregnancy increases the risk of miscarriage, premature labour and low birth-weight babies.

Symptoms

The illness starts 7–18 days after you’ve been exposed.
First symptoms

  • A fever
  • A cough
  • A runny nose
  • Sore and watery ‘pink’ eyes
  • Sometimes small white spots on the back inner cheek of your mouth.

Day 3–7 of illness
A blotchy rash which tends to start on your face, behind the ears, before moving over your head and down your body. The rash lasts for up to a week.

What to do if you or a family member has symptoms?

If you think that you or a family member has symptoms of measles, it is important you ring your general practice or call Healthline on 0800 611 116, for advice as soon as possible.

It’s important to call before visiting your doctor because measles is easily passed on from one person to another. Phoning ahead helps ensure steps are taken to avoid you spreading measles in the waiting room.

You should also stay away from work, school or public places, to help prevent putting other people at risk. This also applies if you or a family member aren’t fully immunised and may have been in contact with someone with measles.

Measles outbreak 2019 updated by MOH. Our current measles vaccination priorities are:

  • making sure all children get vaccinated on time at age 15 months (12 months in Auckland) and 4 years, to maintain New Zealand’s Childhood Immunisation Schedule
  • vaccinating groups most affected by the outbreak in the Auckland area, namely children under 5 years of age, people aged 15–29 years, and Pacific peoples within those groups
  • vaccinating babies aged from 6 months who live in Auckland
  • vaccinating all children under 15 nationwide who have not had a single dose of MMR.
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