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Measles contact alert

Public health wishes to advise that we have a family of three in Rarotonga recently arrived from Auckland, who were close family contacts of a measles case in Auckland. Parents are both considered immune however their young baby is not old enough to receive the MMR vaccine and therefore at risk of developing measles. Public health has placed some of the family under quarantine at home, and will be monitoring them every day for symptoms and signs of measles over the next fortnight.

Should the child develop measles, we will advise the public immediately and activate public media/communications and control measures.

Public health estimates that we have close to 100% MMR vaccination of our 6 months and older children. We are relying on strong herd immunity among our adult population to protect our young children and vulnerable immune-compromised population. The public is advised to ensure their children are immunised with the MMR vaccine and also remain vigilant regarding covering up coughs and sneezes and implementing good hand washing hygiene.

The measles outbreak in New Zealand and in particular Auckland is continuing with over 1000 cases. Samoa declared their measles outbreak on 16 October 2019, and Tonga on 22 October 2019. Samoa is limiting access to their main hospital in an effort to limit the spread of measles. All government officials preparing to travel to these countries should contact public health on 29110 for travel advice.

Measles symptoms include: high fever, rash (raised red, non-blistering, not itchy), cough, coryza (runny nose), and conjunctivitis (red, watery eyes) Sometimes there are small white spots on the inside of the mouth (cheeks)