Measles is the most infectious and easily transmissible of all human viruses. Individuals are contagious up to four days prior to the development of symptoms, enhancing the spread of the virus even further.
There is a measles outbreak in Canterbury with the first case having been identified on the 22nd of February in Rangiora. Since then, there have been a total of 25 confirmed and more under investigation. All confirmed cases in Canterbury have been the same genotype and are likely linked to the same index case who has not yet been identified. Measles is no longer endemic in New Zealand; all outbreaks are linked to overseas travel.
Measles cases are increasing and have been identified in different parts of Christchurch, despite contact tracing efforts.
Who’s at Risk:
People born before 1969 are considered to be at low risk and do not require vaccination. For others, two doses of MMR confer good protection.
The normal schedule for childhood vaccinations provides our under 5 year olds good protection. Within the schedule is the opportunity to bring forward the 15 months MMR vaccination to 12 months. The Ministry of Health is considering whether there is a need to bring forward the 4 year old MMR and will notify us if that is required.
Recommendations going forward:
CDHB have planned a further four week MMR vaccination campaign from 28 March to 26 April targetting first MMR (for those who have had none) and second MMR (for those who have had none) for:
- All those aged 12 months to 28 years.
- Caregivers of infants aged up to 12 months.
- Those aged between 29 and 50 who work with children (teachers or healthcare workers).
Please remember that one dose of MMR protects 95% of people developing measles. The reason we give a second dose is to capture the 5% who need this second vaccine to develop immunity. The majority of people who have had one done of MMR in the past and people who have had a single measles vaccine have a good level of protection.
Please do not call Lincoln Medical for advice, only for emergencies. However, call us for appointments for immunisation.