Measles update MoH 11 October 2019

The Ministry of Health (MoH) has updated advice for measles due to the current outbreak. 

The following information is from the Ministry of Health measles update accessed on 11 October 2019  

The Ministry of Health's current measles vaccination priorities are:

  • making sure all children get vaccinated on time at age 15 months (12 months in Auckland) and 4 years, to maintain New Zealand’s Childhood Immunisation Schedule
  • vaccinating groups most affected by the outbreak in the Auckland area, namely children under 5 years of age, people aged 15–29 years, and Pacific peoples within those groups. 

Please contact your general practice if you have a child in one of the vaccination priority groups.

Case numbers

From 1 January 2019 to 11 October 2019 there have been 1766 confirmed cases of measles notified across New Zealand. 1436 of these confirmed cases are in the Auckland region.

Symptoms

Measles is very infectious. The symptoms of measles include:

  • fever
  • cough
  • runny nose
  • sore and watery ‘pink eyes’
  • rash.

If you’ve got any of these symptoms, or someone you know has, please freephone Healthline on 0800 611 116 or call your doctor. It’s really important you stay home, but if you do go to the doctor, please phone before visiting, as they can help you avoid the waiting room so you don’t infect other patients. There’s more important measles advice further down this page.

Babies

We know measles is worrying for everyone, especially for parents and whānau of babies and young children. Babies born to mums who are immune will have some of this protection passed on because antibodies are transferred from mother to baby, giving baby some immunity for those early months.

The best protection for very young children is to ensure that whānau, carers and other people around them are vaccinated. If you have a Plunket or Well Child Tamariki Ora book, it should record if you’ve been vaccinated against measles. Unvaccinated people who might have been in contact with someone who has measles should take a cautious approach when interacting with babies.

Read more about how to protect your baby during an outbreak.

Babies and children travelling to Auckland

Babies under 12 months old living in or travelling to Auckland don’t need an additional early dose of the MMR vaccine. Babies born to mums who are immune will have some of this protection passed on. Antibodies are transferred from mother to baby, giving baby some immunity for those early months.

People worried about a baby aged 6–11 months being at high risk of exposure should speak to their GP. If an infant is vaccinated under 12 months, they’ll need two more doses of MMR vaccine when they’re 15 months and 4 years old.

Make sure children aged under 5 are vaccinated 2 weeks before travelling to places with serious measles outbreaks, including Auckland. 

Pregnancy and MMR vaccine

Women shouldn’t get vaccinated against measles while pregnant. If you're pregnant and think you may have measles or have come in contact with someone with measles, you should call your general practice, lead maternity carer or Healthline on 0800 611 116 as soon as possible. Read more about pregnancy and vaccinations.

Over 50s

You don’t need vaccination as measles used to be very common, which means people over the age of 50 are considered immune.

Mass gatherings, concerts, sporting events

Although the Ministry hasn’t recommended organisers cancel events like concerts and sports events, we suggest organisers work closely with their local DHBs and Public Health Units.

Travelling to a place with a serious measles outbreak

People who aren’t immune and have early symptoms of measles (fever, cough, runny nose, sore eyes and/or a rash) should not travel.

Read the Ministry's advice about taking children and babies to Auckland

Travelling to New Zealand

People intending to travel to New Zealand should be fully immunised for measles. If you need additional vaccination, it should be administered at least 2 weeks before arriving in New Zealand.

Remember, people who aren’t immune and have early symptoms of measles (fever, cough, runny nose, sore eyes and/or a rash) shouldn’t travel.

The Ministry of Health is regularly reviewing this advice and expects it will remain in place as long as there are serious outbreaks occurring.

Learn more

The following links provide more information on measles:

Measles advice 2019 Ministry of Health, NZ 
Measles Ministry of Health, New Zealand
Measles immunisation KidsHealth NZ
What is measles Auckland Regional Public Health Service
Information for people with measles Auckland Regional Public Health Service
Measles information for contacts Auckland Regional Public Health Service 
High-risk people Auckland Regional Public Health Service
Measles The Immunisation Advisory Centre, New Zealand
Priorix – measles, mumps, rubella vaccine The Immunisation Advisory Centre, New Zealand
Measles management guidelines Starship, NZ