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Confirmed measles case in Dunedin and on Dunedin to Auckland flight

Issue date:

Southern DHB/Public Health South is alerting Dunedin residents and passengers on a flight from Dunedin to Auckland last Tuesday that they may have been exposed to measles.

An Auckland resident flew to Dunedin, but was only infectious on his return flight –

  • Air NZ 674 from Dunedin to Auckland on Tuesday 23 July, departing at 2.25 pm

The resident may also have been infectious while at the following locations:

  • Esplanade Restaurant St Clair Dunedin Dinner Monday 22 July
  • Bluestone on George Motel George Street Dunedin 22 - 23 July 
  • Market Kitchen Restaurant, George Street Dunedin, Lunch Tuesday 23 July
  • Dunedin and Auckland domestic terminals Tuesday 23 July

Southern DHB Medical Officer of Health, Dr Anura Jayasinghe, urges anyone who is not sure if they are immune to measles and may have been in contact with the case, to check their status with their general practitioner. Pregnant women and immunocompromised people should be especially vigilant.

“It usually takes 10-14 days for someone who has caught measles to develop symptoms. If anyone has been infected at the locations listed, they could start to develop symptoms from as soon as tomorrow. Symptoms include a high fever, runny nose, cough and sore red eyes. A few days later a rash starts on the face and neck, before spreading to the rest of the body.”

"We're asking people who were in these locations to keep a close eye out for these symptoms. If you develop symptoms, stay home and phone your general practice or Healthline (0800 611 116) and let them know that you have potentially been in contact with a confirmed measles case," says Dr Jayasinghe.

The measles virus spreads easily via infectious droplets from person to person through the air, via breathing, coughing and sneezing. 

Those over 50 years are considered to be immune as the virus circulated widely when they were children.

Vaccination with the Measles, Mumps, Rubella vaccine (MMR) offers the best protection against measles. One dose will prevent measles in 95 per cent of people, while having two doses will protect 99 per cent of people who have the vaccine. Children are routinely vaccinated against measles at 15 months and four years. 

Currently MMR vaccination is free for anyone born after 1969, over 4 years of age, who hasn’t had two doses.

Anyone with measles needs to be isolated from the time they become ill until 5 days after the rash has appeared. Isolation means staying at home and missing out on things like school, work, sporting competitions and social events. 

Dr Jayasinghe continues: “Although it’s important to get vaccines on time, every time, it's never too late.  If you need more information on immunisation contact your family doctor.”

For more information on measles please visit the Ministry of Health website.

ENDS

For further information, please contact:

Southern DHB Senior Communications Officer Vanessa Barratt, on 020 4166 2019 or email: vanessa.barratt@southerndhb.govt.nz