Tuesday April 9, 2019
Dear Primary Care colleagues,
There are currently outbreaks of measles in Christchurch and Auckland, and now a case of measles has been confirmed in Mount Maunganui in the Bay of Plenty. We are also following up on a small number of suspected cases of measles in the Mount Maunganui area. Close contacts are being followed up.
To help limit the further spread of measles in our community, please see below for advice on suspected measles management and MMR immunisation.
Suspected measles management
If you suspect measles, notify the on-call medical officer of health promptly via Tauranga Hospital switchboard on 07 579 8000. Do not wait until laboratory results are available. If measles is a possibility, place patient in a separate area to avoid risk to others in the waiting room.
MMR immunisation advice
General practice teams are asked to prioritise the following groups for MMR immunisation:
The routine childhood MMR immunisations, given at 15 months and 4 years;
People aged 15 months to 50 years who have not previously been vaccinated against measles.
Please see the recent letter to primary care from the Ministry of Health for more information. Although two doses of MMR provides the best protection, 95% of people will be protected following just one dose. With MMR vaccine stock currently limited nationally, please defer catch up of patients requiring a second dose until vaccine supply improves.
To minimise impact on laboratory services, please limit serology testing for measles to suspected cases and contacts only. If a patient is unsure of their immune status and documentation is lacking, please arrange vaccination rather than checking serology.
The Ministry of Health has developed printable resources for primary care, after-hours clinics and Emergency Departments. Please feel free to print these and display them as suitable.
Think measles in the community – printable flyer for health professionals
Think measles in the community – printable flyer for the public (waiting rooms etc.)
Further information about measles (including symptoms) for health professionals is available on the:
Toi Te Ora Public Health website - www.toiteora.govt.nz/gp_resources_measles
Ministry of Health website - www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/measles-information-health-professionals
We will be issuing a media release shortly to inform our community. The media release is attached.
Thank you for your help to prevent the further spread of measles in our communities.
On behalf of the Medical Officer of Health, Dr Jim Miller.