Measles outbreak 'serious but majority of Aucklanders need not worry'

Matt Benjamin and Ashleigh Playne

Matt Benjamin and Ashleigh Playne

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

The children are among 778 confirmed cases of measles in Auckland as of this afternoon - up 19 since yesterday.

Measles cases have been confirmed in more than 50 schools in the Auckland region since the beginning of this year's outbreak.

The DHB spokesperson couldn't reveal any further details about the children, including their ages.

Dr Rainger said one person with the measles could infect on average about 15 other people, compared to the flu where a single person could only infect about two people. "But [there have been] no deaths yet".

On Friday, the ARPHS said the number of new cases per day was not slowing down.

Associate Health Minister Julie Anne Genter said on Friday that responding to the measles outbreak "will be a top priority for the Ministry of Health in the coming days".

Kiwi boxer and Middlemore Foundation ambassador Joseph Parker has asked families from south Auckland to get vaccinated against measles as the number of cases in the area has increased.

Advice was also being sent to schools on how to prevent the spread elsewhere in New Zealand.

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.

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

"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 we ask they seek advice from ARPHS or other medical professionals about the level of risk in their specific situation".

"On the basis of this discussion, an event organiser might decide to cancel their event". "However, the current level of risk of measles in Auckland does not warrant using these powers", he said.

Manurewa School Principal Pete Jones
Manurewa High School Principal Pete Jones

While the Auckland outbreak had now topped 700, he said that had to be kept in context of the region's population of 1.6 million.

"It's not a crisis".

All people travelling to Auckland, including infants aged between 12 and 14 months, should be vaccinated for measles at least two weeks before travelling, it said.

The best way to stop the spread of measles and this disease infecting others is to get the MMR vaccination.

The MMR vaccine is free for anyone under 50 who hasn't had two documented doses, and is available from your general practice.

Well over half are in Auckland, particularly Counties Manukau.

At the Manukau SuperClinic today dozens were waiting for vaccinations, and nurse numbers would be boosted tomorrow, Ellis said.

"Go about your business as usual".

Among them was 16-year-old Josh Tregaskis.

A child is in a critical condition in hospital as Auckland struggles to contain the worst measles epidemic in more than 20 years.

The paper was later discredited and its author, British surgeon Andrew Wakefield, lost his medical licence and had his paper retracted.

But she had since learned the Wakefield study had been discredited and that there was no link between autism and the MMR vaccine.

DNC to recommend scrapping virtual caucus plans in Iowa and Nevada
Law enforcement agencies have warned that US election systems are vulnerable for interference ahead of the 2020 vote as well. She said more efforts will be made to boost participation in the Democratic state caucuses.

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