Media Release - 17/07/09
Medical Officer of Health Dr Cheryl Brunton said 26 of the 45 cases have been confirmed as measles. Sixteen of the cases were from Christchurch Boys High School but there are now confirmed or suspected cases from another seven high schools, two intermediate schools, four primary schools and six early childhood centres in Canterbury.
Most of the children who are currently ill are being cared for at home. A total of five children with measles have been hospitalised, though all of these are now recovered or are recovering at home.
“Most of the children with measles are still aged between 11-16 years old but we are now seeing an increase in the number of younger children with measles, including children under a year old,” Dr Brunton said.
“Measles can be a serious disease for some people and it’s important that parents check their children’s immunisation records to see if they have had MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella) vaccination as it offers the best protection against the disease
Dr Brunton said unimmunised children were at high risk of getting measles when there was a local outbreak of the disease.
Children should receive two doses of the MMR vaccination, at 15 months and four years old. However, children who miss one of their vaccinations at the required time are able to get free “catch up” doses and should still present to their General Practice.
Measles is a highly infectious disease that can spread from person to person through the air by breathing, coughing and sneezing. It can cause a rash, high fever, a runny nose and sore, watery eyes. It can lead to pneumonia, ear infections, brain damage and can occasionally be fatal.