Media Release - 8/07/09
Canterbury District Health Board’s Community and Public Health Division has so far identified eight confirmed and nine probable cases in Christchurch’s measles outbreak.
Aside from one person in their early 20s, all of the cases are aged between 11 and 16 years. Eight of them are from Christchurch Boys’ High School, with three being in the same class.
Most of the young people have been able to be cared for at home but at least three have required hospital assessment and one was admitted due to the severity of his illness.
“Most of the cases had not been immunised, three had been only partially immunised and two had been fully immunised,” said Medical Officer of Health Dr Ramon Pink.
“It is a powerful reminder to parents to make sure their children are immunised. All caregivers, particularly those concerned that their children could be at risk in this outbreak, should check their children’s immunisation record and if they have not been immunised contact their GP and arrange for it to be done,” he said.
“The MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella) vaccination is an effective vaccine in giving life long immunity.”
As a result of the outbreak at Christchurch Boys’ High School, a school trip to New Caledonia involving a party of 22 teachers and pupils has been postponed.
Christchurch Boys’ High School principal Trevor McIntyre said,” it was incredibly disappointing for the boys. Unfortunately anyone in our party could have been developing measles or swine flu and we did not want it spreading between them or to other travellers or host families in New Caledonia.
“We are planning to reschedule the trip but at a later date, at this stage.”
People who have been identified as being unwell are being isolated at home and their close contacts have been advised to stay at home for several days unless they have had two MMR immunisations which would give them immunity from the disease.
Anyone who is concerned that they or a family member may have measles should phone their GP. Symptoms of the disease include fever, red eyes (conjunctivitis), runny nose, spots on the inside of the mouth and a rash which appears in days three to seven of the illness.