TODAY |

Child critical as Auckland measles cases jump by 19 in a day to 778

Three children are in Auckland's Starship Hospital with measles, including one in a critical condition. 

An Auckland District Health Board spokesperson has told 1 NEWS the other two children are in a stable condition. 

The news came as the number of measles cases in Auckland today reached 778, an increase of 19 since yesterday.

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Public health officials are telling organisers thinking of cancelling events to check with them first. Source: 1 NEWS

Health officials say the majority of the cases are in South Auckland and are children under the age of five and young adults between the age of 15 and 29.

Medical Officer of Health Dr William Rainger says there are 18 to 20 new cases each day and 40 per cent of the cases this year have been hospitalised.

"Please don't delay getting your children vaccinated at 12 months and at four years, and make sure older children are vaccinated now if they have missed out." Dr Rainger said.

The Auckland District Health Board is continuing to provide professional health advice to institutions where large groups can be easily effected such as schools and prisons.

Pop-up clinics have opened today across in South Auckland which are offering free vaccinations.

These are at Clendon Shopping Centre in Manurewa during the week and at the Manukau SuperClinic on Saturdays.

People in South Auckland who suspect they have measles are advised to avoid going to Middlemore Hospital, but contact their local GP for professional advice.

There have been 937 cases nationally this year.

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Medical Officer of Health Dr William Rainger says 40 per cent of the cases this year have been hospitalised. Source: 1 NEWS

Auckland Netball has cancelled its prize giving tonight and New Zealand Rugby League has cancelled next week's secondary schools competition involving 26 schools, because of the measles outbreak.

Dr Rainger says the Auckland Regional Public Health Service is not requesting that events be cancelled or that people stay away from gatherings, unless they have been asked to be in quarantine or are unwell with possible measles symptoms.

"A medical officer of health does have powers to direct organisers of public events to cancel these, if there is a risk to public health. However, the current level of risk of measles in Auckland does not warrant using these powers," he said.

However if organisers know people attending are likely to have been exposed to measles, for instance, because they have been at a school with measles, then they should seek advice from the public health service other medical professionals about the level of risk in their specific situation, he said.

"On the basis of this discussion, an event organiser might decide to cancel their event."

Most events and gatherings should be able to go ahead as planned in Auckland, he said, but this may change if the Ministry of Health and regional public health service decide an event has a significant risk of spreading measles to other parts of the country.

Over 50 schools in the region have had measles this year and the public health service says it's continuing to work with the Ministry of Education to help schools manage cases.

Symptoms of the measles include a fever, runny nose, cough and sore red eyes, with a rash following a few days later.