Measles cases in Bay of Plenty rise to six

There have now been six cases of measles reported in the Bay of Plenty region in the past month, up one since Friday.

The new case, reported last night is linked to a previous case in the Mount Maunganui area, Dr Neil de Wet, Medical Officer of Health for Toi Te Ora Public Health says in a statement.

He urged parents to ensure their children receive their free routine MMR immunisations on time at 15 months and four years of age.

"If for any reason you have never had a dose of MMR vaccine now is the time to get one,” says Dr de Wet. "After just one dose of MMR vaccine about 95% of people will be protected from measles, and 99% of people who have had both MMR doses will be protected from measles."

However people born before January 1969 are likely to be immune and do not need measles immunisation.

Dr de Wet says it is particularly important to check your immunity before going on an overseas trip. There are currently significant measle outbreaks world wide and he says its common for travellers to bring the disease back from overseas.

There have also been measles outbreaks in Christchurch and Auckland which have seen a combined total of around 50 cases.

Measles, mumps and rubella vaccines sitting in a cooler. Source: Associated Press