Measles Information

Measles Case Queenstown - 13th October 2016

Southern DHB/Public Health South has been notified that a Queenstown resident has been confirmed as infected with measles.  Public Health staff are conducting a contact investigation and recommending vaccination to anyone who may have been exposed or is not fully protected in order to reduce the likelihood of further cases.

Contact tracing has already begun.  Close personal contacts are currently being managed by Public Health South.

The case developed symptoms on 10 October and was confirmed as measles 12 October.

The case, who is currently in isolation, is infectious from October 5-15. They have visited several locations in Queenstown before they were aware they were ill (please see below background information for a list of locations).

During their infectious period the case visited Queenstown Medical Centre for three days from October 10-12. Anyone who may have encountered the case at the Queenstown Medical Centre has been identified and will be contacted and offered vaccination or other appropriate treatment to reduce their risk of contracting measles.

The school the case attends has also been informed, although at this stage there is no information that any school students are at increased risk of developing measles.

“While infectious the case has had contact with a significant number of people in Queenstown,” says Dr Marion Poore, Southern DHB Medical Officer of Health.

“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.”

"We're asking people who haven't been immunised and who may have been in contact with the case 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," said Dr Poore.

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. 

Public Health South urges anyone who may have been in locations listed  below during the specified period who is not sure if they are immune to measles to check their status with their general practitioner.

Dr Poore 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.”

Public Health South are exploring mechanisms to make vaccination more widely accessible to the Wakatipu community.

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

Background Information:

Places visited by case while infectious:

  • Seoul Garden Restaurant in O’Connell Mall, Queenstown from 5 – 9 October
  • 8.50am bus service between Lake Hayes Estate and downtown Queenstown on  6 October
  • Crew Stylists, Louis Vuitton Building, The Mall, Queenstown on  5 October

The measles virus spreads easily via infectious droplets from person to person through the air, via breathing, coughing and sneezing.  It starts with fever, runny nose, cough, red eyes, and sore throat.  This is followed by a rash that spreads over the body.

If you are exposed to measles and are not fully immunised with proper documentation, you’ll need to be isolated at home for at least 14 days.

The only way to avoid catching measles is to have had two measles vaccinations at least four weeks apart.  Children are routinely vaccinated against measles at 15 months and four years.  People aged 10 to 29 years are at greatest risk of catching measles, as they're the group least likely to have been fully immunised as children.

Currently MMR vaccination is free for anyone born after 1969, over 4 years of age, who hasn’t had two doses and this vaccine can be obtained from their general practice.

www.health.govt.nz/your-health/conditions-and-treatments/diseases-and-illnesses/measles

www.immune.org.nz/measles-and-mmr