Published Thursday 27 Jun 2019

Regional Public Health tracing contacts after further Wellington measles cases.

Regional Public Health (RPH) has been notified of four further confirmed cases of measles in the Wellington region, and is asking people who may have been in contact with those people to watch out for symptoms.

“The infected people visited several public places in Wellington before they knew they were infected”, RPH Medical Officer of Health Annette Nesdale says.

“We are asking members of the public who visited the following locations at the relevant times to call their doctor’s practice and check, if they are unsure if they have been immunised against measles.”

Tuesday 18th June:

  • Train at 7:59 am from Johnsonville to Wellington, or the 17:17pm train from Wellington to Johnsonville
  • Midnight Expresso café in Wellington between 16:30 and 19:00
  • Daiso shop in Manners Street in Wellington between 18:00 and 18:10
  • McDonalds restaurant (Manners/Victoria St) in Wellington between 18:10 and 18:20.

Thursday 20th and Friday 21st June

  • James Cook Hotel foyer or walkway between The Terrace and Lambton Quay, during the day.

Monday 24th June

  • Countdown Pharmacy, High Street, Lower Hutt between 13:15 and 13:30.

“RPH public health nurses are contacting people they are aware of who have been in contact with the unwell people, however because measles is a virus easily spread from person to person through sneezing or coughing, anyone at the above locations at the times specified should remain vigilant until 14 days after visiting these locations,” Dr Nesdale said.

Anyone at these locations at the specified times who feels unwell should phone their doctor or call Healthline on 0800 611 116 for advice.

“It is important to call first before seeing a doctor as measles is highly infectious, and people with measles can infect others in the waiting room,” Dr Nesdale said.

Measles is most infectious in the days before the classical measles rash develops, and it can take 7-14 days for someone who has caught measles to start showing symptoms.

Symptoms include a high fever, cough, runny nose, red eyes and a rash that starts on the face and neck before spreading elsewhere, Dr Nesdale said

Measles is a serious illness which can be prevented by being immunised.

“The MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella) vaccine is a free vaccine and offers the best protection against measles. Two doses are required to give maximum protection. These are usually given at around 15 months and four years, however you can receive the vaccine at any age after 12 months.

“The only way to avoid catching measles is to have had two measles vaccines after your first birthday or if you have previously had measles.Please check with your doctor to see if you and your family are protected. By getting immunised, you will not only be protecting yourself or your child, you'll also be stopping the disease from spreading in our communities,” Dr Nesdale said.

The number of confirmed of measles in the Wellington region this year is 15.

More information: Helen Corrigan, RPH communications contact: 027 583 3240 or helen.corrigan2@huttvalleydhb.org.nz

Measles FAQs:

What does contact tracing involve?

Contact tracing involves identifying everyone a person has had contact with and the public places they have visited while infectious.Each person or business identified is then contacted, usually by telephone, and advised. If they are at risk of developing the disease, they are advised of what they need to do to stop the disease spreading further.

How many RPH Public Health nurses and medical staff are involved in contact tracing in this current case?

http://www.rph.org.nz 10 to 12 staff.

Has RPH contacted the businesses the infected people visited?

Yes.

Could people infected have come into contact with others in these places and exposed them to measles?

Yes. Measles is very infectious and there is a risk of measles being transmitted even with brief contact.

How can I check if I have been exposed?

If you have been in one of the locations listed above at the times outlined, are younger than 50 years, and unvaccinated, phone RPH on 04 570 9002 for health advice.

Could I have infected my children, family, friends, and workmates?

Measles usually starts 10-14 days after you have been exposed. If you have measles you'll get the following symptoms:

  • a fever, a cough, a runny nose
  • sore, watery pink eyes.
  • a skin rash will appear three to five days later.

NOTE: People with measles are infectious five days before and until five days after the rash appears.

Should I go to the Doctor?

If you think you or someone in your family has measles, phone your family doctor or call Healthline on 0800 611 116 as soon as possible.

Should I get vaccinated?

Yes. The best prevention against measles is the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine. Vaccines are free for children and adults who have not previously received two doses of the vaccine. Vaccination is also important if you are planning to travel anywhere overseas.

Where can I get vaccinated?

Phone your local medical centre to make an appointment to be immunised against measles.

Is vaccination free?

Yes.

What's being done to stop this happening again?

Measles immunisation, on time at 15 months and four years, is the best protection against measles and to stop it spreading in our communities.

Where do I find more information?