New measles case in Taranaki
A new measles case has been reported in Taranaki following international travel.
The National Public Health Service (NPHS) has been working to identify and follow up with people who may have come into contact with the individual during their journey from overseas to Taranaki. This travel was during the time period that the person was infectious to others.
The person arrived in Auckland International Airport at approximately 5:30am on 30 October on Air New Zealand’s flight NZ29 from Houston to Auckland. They took the shuttle bus between the international and domestic terminals, and boarded an Air New Zealand connecting flight (NZ5035) arriving in New Plymouth around 8:00am on the same day.
Te Whatu Ora National Public Health Service teams are working to identify contacts who may have been exposed to the measles case while in transit to New Zealand and on their way home to Taranaki. Any close contacts identified who are not immune will be advised to quarantine at home and monitor for symptoms of measles.
Please keep an eye out for symptoms
Given the large number of people who may be potential contacts of the case, who are likely to be spread across different parts of the motu, we are encouraging primary care providers to please remain vigilant for people who may present with measles symptoms.
We are also reminding anyone who may be a suspected case to stay at home and call a healthcare provider or Healthline on 0800 611 116 for more advice.
Funding for close contact testing and vaccination records
If a Te Whatu Ora public health service requests that an identified measles close contact attends primary care for a measles test and/or consultation, this will be funded by Te Whatu Ora. The General Practice will be able to invoice the Primary Health Organisation who will then be able to invoice the relevant Te Whatu Ora public health service.
Close contacts will need to be able to request their vaccination records to help determine if they need to quarantine. However, if providers incur costs for retrieval of vaccination records related to the Taranaki measles case for close contacts, they can invoice the PHO as per the process above. We also encourage providers to offer vaccinations to anyone who may need them, including contacts who are not immune.
Measles signs and symptoms
- It usually takes 10-12 days from exposure to measles to the first symptom becoming obvious.
- The illness begins with fever, cough, runny nose and conjunctivitis (inflammation in the eyes), which lasts for 2-4 days.
- It may be possible to see small white spots inside the mouth.
- A rash appears 2-4 days after the first symptoms, beginning at the hairline and gradually spreading down the body to the arms and legs. The rash lasts for up to one week.
We appreciate the support of the primary care sector as we continue to work to improve MMR vaccination uptake and encourage anyone who may not be immune to be vaccinated for measles. The MMR vaccine is free for all children in Aotearoa, and all adults over the age of 18 who are eligible for publicly funded healthcare in Aotearoa.
As many of the recent measles cases within New Zealand have been related to NZ residents returning after overseas travel, it’s a timely reminder that in any pre-travel consultation, it is recommended to offer the MMR vaccination to anyone who may not be immune.
Information about any locations of interest related to the current case will be updated on the Te Whatu Ora website here once they are available.
Measles is a highly infectious disease, and we want to encourage whānau to check if they are immune and get their measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccinations if needed.
To find out about immunisation providers and their locations, including community clinics and pharmacy, visit this website.
On behalf of Outbreak Response Communications
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Te Whatu Ora – HealthNew Zealand