Last month there was a measles outbreak in the Waikato, with students at both Fairfield College and Morrinsville College reported as having contracted the disease. The outbreak now appears to have spread to the South Island after a teenager, who recently visited Hamilton, also contracted the disease.
Measles is highly contagious; however it is also easily preventable. Two doses of the measles vaccine, MMR, will provide protection for you and your family. Anyone, from babies through to adults, who are not fully immunised are at risk of contracting the virus. Adults born prior to 1969 are less at risk as they were probably exposed to measles as a child and therefore have a natural immunity. Those with low immune systems are at a higher risk.
The measles virus is easily spread through the air by breathing, sneezing and coughing. You will not necessarily be aware that you have contracted the disease until you feel sick, however you will be infectious for 5 days before and 5 day after the symptoms appear.
One in three cases will develop further complications, some of which require hospitalisation, the most severe cases can be life threatening.
Te Ngae Medical Centre recommends that you check to see if you and your family are fully vaccinated as this is the only way to protect you and those around you, from the disease.