Health

Preschool’s measle warning as child falls ill

As the country faces its biggest outbreak in 20 years, the number of tests for the highly contagious disease continue to rise. File photo.

A sick pre-schooler is being tested for measles amid fears the outbreak has reached Marlborough.

The youngster, who attends a Blenheim preschool, fell ill displaying some of the symptoms of the potentially deadly illness.

Test results are expected back later this week.

Nelson Marlborough District Health Public Health have sent an advisory letter to all parents with children at the preschool, warning them of the possibility.

Nelson Marlborough Public Health Service’s Medical Officer of Health Dr Andrew Lindsay warned the disease is difficult to contain.

“This is the biggest outbreak in more than 20 years, with more than 800 cases to date.

“This is a serious, life-threatening disease that is very, very difficult to contain – as we’re seeing in Auckland.”

The virus, which spreads through the air is very infectious.

Keeping suspected cases in isolation is key, says Dr Lindsay.

“The last case of measles in our region was in November 2018, unrelated to the current outbreak.

“The person was placed in home isolation before reaching the point that they become infectious to others, and as a result no-one else caught measles. This demonstrates the importance of isolation,” Dr Lindsay says

As the country faces its biggest outbreak in 20 years, the number of tests for the highly contagious disease continue to rise.

Staff across the region are taking no chances when it comes to ruling out the potentially deadly disease.

There were a total of 16 suspected cases Nelson and Marlborough in September bringing the total number of suspected cases notified by GPs to the Nelson Marlborough Public Health Service for 2019 to 38.

Nelson Marlborough is one of just four district health boards across the country to be currently measles-free.

Programmes Manager – clinical services and integration, Marlborough Primary Health Organisation Glenis McAlpine says that the isolation of any measles cases is critical.

Parents need to be vigilant and check their children’s Well Child immunisation record (Plunket book) to see if their child is immunised.

If in doubt, they should call their GP or practice nurse to check their immunisation status, he says.

“Children and adults need to have had two doses of the MMR vaccine to be fully immunised, but one dose of MMR provides 95 per cent protection,” says Dr Lindsay.

If you have any questions about the vaccine, contact your GP, practice nurse or the Immunisation Advisory Centre on 0800 IMMUNE.

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