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Don't take measles on holiday
Most New Zealand measles outbreaks have started with the return of someone who caught the disease overseas. Our immunisation rates are not high enough to prevent measles spreading – to achieve that we need to ensure 95 per cent of our two-year-olds are fully immunised. Our current immunisation rate is about 90 percent.
If you can’t remember whether your child is fully immunised, please contact your family doctor before you travel. If your child has not had the free measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine, consider getting them immunised. About 90 to 95 percent of people are protected from measles once they are fully immunised.
If your child is not immunised and you suspect they might have measles, please keep them at home until they are well, says Dr Tuohy.
Measles is very infectious - an unimmunised child has a more than 90 per cent chance of catching this disease if they come into contact with someone who has it.
It can make children very sick for up to two weeks with symptoms such as a high fever, hacking cough, red eyes, runny nose and a rash. It often starts as an influenza-like illness. The measles rash may not appear for several days. Adults can also get measles.
For more information about free MMR immunisation and measles, please go to www.moh.govt.nz/immunisation or www.immune.org.nz or call the free immunisation helpline 0800 IMMUNE (0800 466 863).
For more information on immunisation, visit the Waikato Immunisation web page.
Date: 11 July 2011
Communications & HR
Ministry of Health
DDI: 04 496 2349
Mobile: 021 802 622