A measles alert has been issued across New Zealand following the travel of an infected individual from Wellington to Auckland on 3 October.
The person, a resident of Northland, flew on Jetstar JQ258 after attending the National Shakespeare Schools Production at Scots College, Wellington. Students who had contact with the infected individual have since travelled to various parts of the country.
Dr. Jay Harrower, Medical Officer of Health for the Northern Region, urges attendees of the Scots College event to self-isolate until contacted by health officials. He also encourages those on the same flight to get vaccinated if they’re unsure about their immunity. High-risk individuals will be contacted by health services in the upcoming days.
Dr. Harrower describes measles as highly contagious among the non-immune population. Early symptoms include fever, cough, runny nose, and sore, watery eyes, followed by a distinct rash. He emphasises the importance of staying updated with immunisations and advises those uncertain about their MMR vaccine doses to get vaccinated.
Te Whatu Ora is actively tracing potential contacts and will soon release a detailed list of exposure events.
Te Aka Whai Ora Māori Health Authority’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Rawiri McKree Jansen, highlighted the severity of the situation, especially for young children, calling it a “serious wake-up call.” He reiterated that vaccination is the best defence against measles and urged the public to be vigilant and seek medical advice if they suspect measles symptoms in their family.