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Measles exposure at Tainui Kapa Haka event

Waikato DHB Population Health has now been notified of five cases of measles in the Waikato.

The most recent case attended while infectious, a regional Tainui Waka Kapa Haka festival held Saturday 16 April at the Claudelands Event Centre in Hamilton. Around 5,000 attended the national event with attendees from throughout the North Island.

There were 17 Kapa Haka groups competing from the Tainui Waka region in regional competitions. These groups came from areas spanning from Coromandel down to South Waikato including Waikato, Hauraki, Maniapoto and Raukawa.

All five cases attended the Waikato Hospital Emergency Department on the Friday 25 March, Monday 4 April, Saturday 9 April, Sunday 17 April and Tuesday 19 April respectively. Two have required hospitalisation.

One case has attended Nga Taiatea Wharekura School while infectious.

If you or your child attended this Kapa Haka event you may have been exposed to the measles virus. You should

  • Look out for the symptoms of measles for 14 days after the event (until the 30 April 2016).  The first symptoms of measles are fever, runny nose, sore runny eyes and cough. The rash starts later.
  • Check your immunisation status for measles. If you do not have immunity get vaccinated as soon as possible with the MMR vaccine.
  • If you or your family do have the above symptoms phone your GP for advice.

This demonstrates how highly infectious measles can be, (including before symptoms develop) and how seriously ill those infected can become.

People who shared the same air as someone while they were infectious with measles (e.g. being in the same room) may be at risk of developing the disease if they are not already immune.

Measles is a vaccine-preventable disease and anyone who has had at least two doses of the Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccination is considered immune.  People most at risk of contracting the disease are those who have either not had the Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR) vaccine, or who have just had one dose of the vaccine.

If you were exposed, there are a number of measles symptoms to look out for. The incubation period for measles is approximately two weeks, meaning it can take up to two weeks from exposure to show symptoms.

The first symptoms of measles are a fever, and one or more of a runny nose, cough and sore red eyes. After a few days a red blotchy rash comes on, usually starting on the face before spreading to the body and lasts up to one week.

Measles can be very serious. If you or your child becomes unwell please phone your GP or call Health line on 0800 611 116 for advice or seek medical attention depending on severity of illness. It is important to call first because measles is highly infectious, and people with measles can infect others around them for example in waiting rooms of GP surgeries or ED. Measles is spread by tiny droplets in the air and is one of the few diseases that can spread so easily to those nearby.

Medical Officer of Health, Dr Felicity Dumble says this is a timely reminder to everyone to check that they and their children are fully immunised against measles. Vaccination affords full immunity in the vast majority of cases.

People who are regarded as not immune to measles are:

  • People born after 01 January 1969 who have not had two doses of the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine or have not had a laboratory result showing immunity
  • If a student from an infected school has only had one MMR vaccine they can receive a second MMR vaccine and return to school (as long as the vaccines are given four weeks apart)
  • Children over four years old who have not received their second dose of MMR vaccine
  • Infants under the age of 15 months who have not received their first routine dose of MMR vaccine.  They are susceptible and rely on everyone else to be immune so that measles does not spread to them

If you/your child are not immune, as a precaution, stay in home for 14 days after the event in isolation/quarantine – until the 30 April 2016.  If you are unsure if you are immune or not, please call your GP to check your/your child’s records.

Visit www.waikatodhb.health.nz/measles for Waikato measles information.

If you think you may have been exposed read here.


General media enquiries:

Mobile: 021 671 239

Email: news@waikatodhb.health.nz

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