Measles outbreak confirmed in Canterbury

A measles outbreak has been confirmed in Canterbury.

Two people from Rangiora and one person from Christchurch have contracted the highly infectious and potentially life-threatening disease in four days.

Canterbury District Health Board said it was awaiting test results for more suspected cases.

The DHB said early symptoms include a dry cough, runny nose, temperature over 38.5 degrees. Four or five days in, a face rash usually appears, then moves to the chest and arms.

If unimmunised people come within 2m of an infectious person, they have a 90 percent chance of contracting measles.

The DHB said it was working to identify anyone who may have had contact with the confirmed cases, determining their immunisation status and offering vaccination.

It is also encouraging anyone with measles symptoms, or who thinks they may have been exposed, to contact their GP.

Canterbury DHB medical officer of health Ramon Pink said because measles was so infectious, it was important that people with symptoms did not visit their GP or after-hours clinics in person but phone for advice instead.

People are considered immune if they have received two doses of measles, mumps, rubella vaccine, have had a measles illness previously, or were born before 1969.

The outbreak comes one week after university student in Dunedin contracted the disease.

However, the Southern DHB said no new cases have been confirmed in Otago.

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