TODAY |

Canterbury mum abandons home with three-year-old son who has leukemia amid measles outbreak - 'It's just so frustrating'

A mother and her children, including her three-year-old son battling luekemia, have abandoned their home in Rangiora after several measle cases in the North Canterbury town.

Jacque Bath grabbed her two children and fled over 100km to an isolated part of Banks Peninsula.

One of them, three-year-old Hugh, has luekemia.

He has been immunised against measles but because of his chemotherapy treatment his immune system is at risk.

"He'd become really unwell, far more unwell than a normal child might with measles.  For normal people measles might be considered a fairly benign childhood disease which it's not...but for him the risk is infinitely higher," she says.

Her five-month-old Walter is too young to be given the combined measles, mumps and rubella vaccine.

"We've had to put our life on hold for an indefinite amount of time really."

The family are staying put until the outbreak is controlled.

"It's just so frustrating because it doesn't have to be this way it's entirely preventable if people are vaccinating as they should be," Ms Bath says.

Health officials are warning people to assume it is everywhere.

There are now 25 confirmed cases of the virus.

An emergency shipment of 100,000 measle vaccinations will be given in Canterbury over the coming weeks in an effort to contain the outbreak, which is still threatening to climb rapidly.

The DHB has told 1 NEWS none of those with the disease are seriously ill.

But unvaccinated small children are at high risk as well as those aged 29-50 who've only had one dose.  They are advised to stay away from public places.

The source of the virus remains unclear, but it's suspected to have come from an international traveller.

Your playlist will load after this ad

Health officials are warning people to assume the disease is everywhere. Source: 1 NEWS