Measles may be past worst

Lisa Gestro
Lisa Gestro
The southern region may be over the worst of its dose of measles - no more cases of the highly infectious disease have been reported in the past seven days.

The current outbreak could not be counted as being contained until there had been no more cases for 28 days, but signs were encouraging, a Southern District Health Board commissioner's meeting was told yesterday.

''We can't celebrate just yet but it certainly looks like we are through the thick of it,'' SDHB strategy, primary and community executive director Lisa Gestro said.

All told, 71 cases of measles had been diagnosed in the South in recent weeks: 64 in Queenstown, three in Wanaka, two in Dunedin, and one apiece in Oamaru and Gore.

Public health officials were continuing to trace people who may have come into contact with people who had been out and about in the community when contagious with measles, Ms Gestro said.

''That has been a really significant pressure and workload for that team who have done an outstanding job and I thank them for that.

''Only a fortnight ago, we were told that we might as well give up on contact tracing but they took a decision, supported by the leadership team, not to give up on that and it seems to have paid off.''

Nationwide, more than 1800 New Zealanders have contracted measles this year.

mike.houlahan@odt.co.nz

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