The Ministry of Health is currently monitoring a case of measles in New Zealand.
Measles, mumps and rubella can all be very serious illnesses, but measles is particularly dangerous. It can lead to pneumonia, brain infection and sometimes death, and it spreads very quickly. The MMR vaccination helps protect you and your tamariki, and it’s free.
Check the list of exposure events for the current case of measles in New Zealand.
Symptoms of measles
The first symptoms of measles include a fever, cough, runny nose, sore and watery pink eyes (conjunctivitis), and sometimes small white spots on the back inner cheek of the mouth.
From day three to seven of the illness, a blotchy rash appears. This tends to start on the face, behind the ears, before moving over the head and down the body. This lasts up to a week.
Get vaccinated - protect yourself and your whānau
- The best thing you can do to keep your child, your whānau and the community safe is to make sure everyone who can be vaccinated has had two doses of the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine. Measles is highly infectious, and immunisation is the best way to protect against getting measles.
- You can check your child’s immunisation status, and your own, by calling your family doctor or checking your own health records.
- If you were born BEFORE 1969 (and you’re 50 or older), you are considered to have immunity.
- Two doses of the measles vaccine provides the most effective protection for you, your family and the wider community. After one dose of the MMR vaccine, about 95% of people are protected from measles. After two doses, more than 99% of people are protected.
What to do if you suspect you have measles
If you (or a family member) suspect you have measles, you should stay at home.
You can call PlunketLine on 0800 933 922 for any advice. We’re available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
You can also call your doctor to check if you need to be seen, and – this is really important – what their process is if you do. If you have measles it is important to avoid spreading it to others in the waiting room.
Travelling to the Pacific
American Samoa, the Republic of Marshall Islands, Tokelau and the Solomon Islands are requiring travellers to show evidence they've been vaccinated against measles at least two weeks before arrival.
It is highly recommended all travellers to any Pacific Islands are vaccinated against measles at least two weeks before they travel. It is also important you carry documented proof of vaccination or evidence of immunity with you. This may include medical records, laboratory tests, immunisation record summaries, or letters from your GP.
In New Zealand, children receive their first MMR dose at 12 months and their second dose at 15 months as part of the National Childhood Immunisation Schedule.
However, infants aged from six months who are travelling to an outbreak area should have one dose of MMR at least two weeks before they go. Please note that any child vaccinated before 12 months of age will still need two further doses of MMR in line with the National Childhood Immunisation Schedule.
People who are not immune, have symptoms of measles or who have been in contact with someone who has measles in the last 14 days should not travel.