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Two measles cases in Auckland spark warning for people who've been at two locations

Two measles cases have been notified in Auckland, prompting health authorities to warn people who may have been exposed to the disease in three public locations to be alert to symptoms.

Auckland Regional Public Health Service says the two separate cases of measles - an infant and a young adult - are not linked.

The adult was at an event at the Life Central Church in Normanby Road, Mt Eden, on the evening of Wednesday March 6.

People at the Wesley market in Mt Roskill on the morning of Friday March 8 may have also been exposed as the infant was at the International Women’s Day event there.

Medical Officer of Health Dr William Rainger is asking people who were at any of these locations at these times to be aware that they may have been in contact with the airborne virus, and to watch for symptoms - a high fever, runny nose, cough and sore red eyes, followed by a rash starting around the head and spreading to the body.

The service says it is tracing all household, work, social and other contacts of the two cases to check immunity, discuss quarantine and monitor the appearance of any symptoms, following standard public health procedures.

It says the two cases are not considered to be linked to any cases in the Canterbury outbreak. Auckland had its first case of measles this year 10 days ago.

"Our practice of communicating with all contacts, quarantining those who are not immune and checking for symptoms daily reduces the risk of transmission in the community at large," Dr Rainger said. 

"People who have been at the three public locations on these dates need to be aware however that they may have been exposed and watch for symptoms especially if they are not immunised," he said.

He asks anyone who feels unwell, to call your medical practice first and tell them if you have these symptoms, or you may have been exposed to the illness. 

"You could infect others in the waiting room if you just turn up," Dr Rainger said. 

The advice is to phone your doctor or call Healthline on 0800 611-116 for advice.

"Measles is one of the most contagious airborne diseases, and is infectious before the rash appears. It is very easily transmitted from one person to another, possibly by being the same space where an infected person has been," Dr Rainger said.

Many young people in the region are not fully immunised, and people born after 1969 and before 1992 will have received only one MMR vaccine. These people are entitled to the second MMR dose free of charge, although a practice nurse fee may apply. You can be immunised at any time if you have missed your two vaccinations.

While children are immunised at 15 months and four years with the MMR (measles mumps rubella) vaccine, the Ministry of Health recommends that infants aged six to 15 months travelling to countries where there is a current measles outbreak be given the MMR vaccine before they travel.

An up-to-date list of countries with a measles outbreak can be found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website: Measles for Travellers.

For more information or advice on measles, call Healthline on 0800 611 116 or see the Auckland Regional Public Health Service website.


Measles (file picture).
File picture. Source: istock.com