As a result of the regional measles outbreak, advice for people in Canterbury is different from the rest of New Zealand.

As well as continuing to provide the vaccine to those aged 12 months to 28 years old who have never been vaccinated, the availability of a second dose of MMR vaccine has been extended to:

  • all those aged 12 months – 28 years
  • caregivers of infants aged up to 12 months
  • those between 29 and 50 who work with children

Measles is highly infectious, can be life-threatening and about 1 in 10 people with measles will need hospital treatment.

Measles symptoms are:

  • Cough or runny nose or conjunctivitis
  • Fever above 38.50c
  • A rash

Waitaha Primary Health Medical Officer Dr Martin Gardner says it’s important to realise that the vaccination effort aims to contain the measles outbreak in the region, and that everyone can make a difference.

“ The best protection is vaccination. Ninety-five percent of the population needs to be vaccinated in order to achieve herd immunity, so that measles doesn’t spread to people who can’t be vaccinated, including babies under 12 months, pregnant women, and those whose immune systems are compromised, such as people undergoing chemotherapy.

If you have any questions about whether or not you should be vaccinated feel free to call any Waitaha Primary Health Organisation General Practice and ask to speak to a nurse, says Martin.

“However, if you think you have measles, it’s important to call before visiting your doctor to avoid you spreading the virus in the waiting room. Isolation is key to stopping the spread of measles, but please don’t hesitate to call if you need advice.”

Find a GP
Canterbury District Health Board Measles information
Ministry of Health Measles information

Fact file:
The illness starts 7–18 days after you’ve been exposed.

First symptoms

  • A fever
  • A cough
  • A runny nose
  • Sore and watery ‘pink’ eyes
  • Sometimes small white spots on the back inner cheek of your mouth.

Day 3–7 of illness

A blotchy rash which tends to start on your face, behind the ears, before moving over your head and down your body. The rash lasts for up to a week.

(Find more information here)

  • As of 29 March  the number of measles cases reported in Canterbury rose to 37. Of these, measles occurred in people aged 28 and younger. This group is particularly susceptible to measles, and are the primary spreaders of the disease.
  • Worldwide, concern over an increased number of measles cases has been growing. According to Unicef, in the first three months of 2019 more than 110,000 measles cases were reported worldwide – up nearly 300 per cent from the same period last year.
  • Around the world an estimated 110,000 people, most of them children, died from measles in 2017, a 22{0d0c7eaf1f40e2edf61af6c4891ea17b6394c5f595637d3be4b70dba76d37a80} increase from the year before.