Saturday, April 20, 2024

Measles warning for Tauranga festival bus

The Ministry of Health has issued a measles alert for anyone who was onboard a chartered bus travelling to or from Tauranga and the ‘That Weekend’ festival on Sunday 5 February.

The Ministry says anyone who is not immune to measles and has not been contacted by Public Health, should call Healthline (0800 611 116) immediately and remain at home until they have been contacted.

“The buses travelled between Willow St, Tauranga and the Okoroire Hot Springs Hotel. While known purchasers of bus tickets have been contacted, the festival date was changed and many registered ticket purchasers did not attend. Public Health wishes to ensure that anyone who travelled on the buses that was not a ticket purchaser calls Healthline if they have not already,” the Ministry said in a statement.

Measles is highly infectious and spreads easily to anyone who is not immune. Symptoms usually develop seven to 14 days after exposure.

“As it has now been 10 days since bus passengers had contact with the measles case, they may be developing symptoms – such as fever, cough, runny nose, sore and watery ‘pink’ eyes, followed by a blotchy rash.”

Exposure locations (listed at Measles exposure events) – some assessed as low risk – have been identified and three public health service regions around Aotearoa are involved in contact tracing.

Public health says it is making very good progress tracing all contacts of the case to check immunity, and to determine if quarantine or vaccination is appropriate.

“Measles can spread easily among people who are not immune. It is a serious illness, hence a positive case in New Zealand is cause for significant concern. In 2019 we had over 2,000 cases and over 700 hospitalisations,” said Te Whatu Ora spokesperson Dr Nick Chamberlain, Director, National Public Health Service.

“Public health is tracing all contacts of the case to check immunity, and to determine whether quarantine or vaccination is appropriate. Anyone who has been present at an exposure event should stay alert to symptoms and check if they are immune. They should follow the advice on the Ministry of Health website.”

People are considered immune if they have received two doses of the MMR vaccine, have had measles before, or were born before 1969. People should talk to their doctor if they do not know if they are immune to measles.

“The free MMR vaccination is the best protection against measles, and the most important thing people can do to protect themselves is to ensure that they and their tamariki are immunised. MMR is given as two doses – if you’re not sure that you’ve had two doses, play it safe and get vaccinated. There are no safety concerns with having an extra dose,” said Dr Chamberlain.

A dedicated Disability Helpline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to support disabled people  For measles or general enquiries call free on 0800 11 12 13 or text 8988 for help and information. People can also access this helpline using the NZ Relay Service for assistance.

More information, including the list of exposure events, is publicly available at Measles exposure events.

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