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Thousands of school kids around NZ, Pacific Islands warned of measles risk ahead of AIMS Games

Bear in mind the risks, and be sensible - that's the message from health officials as more than 11,000 intermediate-age students gather for a sports tournament, amid a measles outbreak.

The annual AIMS Games in Tauranga kicks off tomorrow, with more than 300 schools from around New Zealand and the Pacific Islands taking part.

The teams from Fiji, Tonga, Samoa and the Cook Islands gathered today for a welcome event and training.

Of the 49 students here from the islands, only seven aren't vaccinated or are unsure of their vaccination status.

The rugby team here from Suva's Gospel School has made sure all its players and supporters have had the necessary jabs, and the assistant coach Jesoni Naivalutoki says he has no concerns.

Overall, around 90 per cent of those set to attend the event over the course of this week are vaccinated.

Tournament director Vicki Semple told 1 NEWS about 1000 people got the vaccination following prompting from organisers.

Ms Semple said about four teams and 50 individual athletes have pulled out of the tournament due the risk of measles.

Organisers have been working closely with the Bay of Plenty District Health Board to address the risks that come with the ongoing outbreak.

"The measles outbreak is obviously very serious and we've been really diligent and making sure we do all the right things and follow professionals' advice," Ms Semple said.

"Tauranga's a holiday destination so we have a lot of tourists coming in all the time but with the AIMS games we've got medical records for all 11,000 competitors so we've been making sure that we're getting messages out there and they're only coming in if they're well."

Bay of Plenty medical officer of health Phil Shoemark said, "As far as I'm aware every school has gone out of their way to make a list of their children who are coming who are not immunised."

Organisers have details they can refer to to know who is unvaccinated at any one place, at any time.

If any cases arise, quarantine areas are available in every game location.

Mr Shoemack doesn't think the outbreak is a reason to cancel the games.

He said, "If we were to restrict people's movement coming to this event, then there's a certain rugby game going on this afternoon as well, we would have had to restrict people for that. There's so many things you'd have to restrict if you start doing that sort of thing."

Auckland's medical officer of health Dr William Rainger told 1 NEWS that "there is of course some risk of the spread of measles through people coming together in this way", but said people just need to "bear in mind the risks and make sensible and informed decisions".

"People have probably more chance of catching it at school doing their usual activities in Auckland," he said.

Mr Rainger advises parents and teachers attending the tournament that if a child becomes unwell with symptoms that could be suggestive of measles, it is best to stay away.

"That might be a difficult decision to make, but for the child's best interest and for those of others that'd be the safest thing to do."

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More than 300 schools from around New Zealand and the Pacific are in Tauranga for the annual games. Source: 1 NEWS