Measles is a highly infectious airborne virus which affects both adults and children. If you suspect you or someone you live with may have measles call before visiting your GP.
If you are feeling sick you should stay away from work, public places and school to stop others getting sick. By isolating yourself you are helping to protect those most vulnerable including babies, pregnant women, cancer patients and others who cannot be immunised.
Travelling to the Pacific
Given the outbreaks of measles across the Pacific, some Pacific Island countries are requiring travellers to show evidence of measles vaccination.
American Samoa, the Republic of Marshall Islands, Tokelau and the Solomon Islands are requiring travellers to show evidence that they have been vaccinated against measles at least two weeks before arrival.
Other Pacific Island countries such as Samoa and Fiji have not implemented travel measures, however it is recommended that all travellers to the Pacific are vaccinated against measles or have immunity to measles before they go. People need to be vaccinated at least two weeks before travel.
Proof of vaccination may include medical records, laboratory tests, an immunisation record summaries, or letters from GPs or vaccinators, detailing vaccination.
Due to the above documentation requirements, any eligible individual is able to receive the MMR vaccine, including those aged over 50 years, if they are travelling to a country where proof of vaccination is required on entry or is necessary for protection in countries currently experiencing measles outbreaks.
In New Zealand, children receive their first MMR vaccination at 15 months (12 months in Auckland) and their second dose at four years as part of the national Childhood Immunisation Schedule.
However, infants aged from six months who are travelling to an outbreak area should have one dose of MMR at least two weeks before they go. Remember that any child vaccinated before 12 months of age will still need two further doses of MMR.
People who are not immune and have early symptoms of measles (these may include fever, cough, runny nose, sore eyes and/or a rash), or who have been in contact with someone who has measles in the last 14 days should not travel.
Measles Information and Update
New Zealand continues to see an increasing number of measles cases daily. There are now outbreaks of measles in Samoa, Tonga and Fiji. It is important to make sure that you and your family get immunised against measles with the Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine at least 2 weeks prior to travelling to any of these countries. For a full list of outbreak countries and the immunisations you require visit https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/watch/measles-global
Children and MMR Vaccination
Children 6-11 months can get one dose of MMR through primary care. They will still require two additional doses after their first birthday.
Children are to be immunised at 12months of age in the Auckland region instead of 15months until further notice and 4 years. Ensure that your child is up to date with all their immunisations if you have any questions contact your practice nurse.
MMR vaccination for under 50 years
If you are aged 50years and under you are entitled to a free MMR vaccine if you do not have any documented proof of MMR. If you are unsure speak with your practice nurse. There are no safety concerns if you get four MMR immunisations in your lifetime. Serology is not recommended.
MMR in pregnancy
Pregnant women are unable be immunised against measles as it is a live vaccine. This means that the immunisation has a weakened form of the virus and we cannot guarantee the safety of your unborn child.
If you are pregnant it is not advised to travel to the affected regions. Protect yourself by making sure those around you are immunised against measles. If you suspect you may have measles or come into contact with a person who has measles contact your GP clinic immediately via phone.
MMR vaccination for over 50
For those over 50 years you are immune to measles as there was enough measles in the general population prior to the 1970s.
For further information about the New Zealand Measles outbreak visit https://www.arphs.health.nz/public-health-topics/disease-and-illness/measles/