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Letters: ‘Measles is only a matter of time’

Wednesday September 04, 2019 Published in Letters to the Editor
Letters: ‘Measles is only a matter of time’

Dear Editor,

 My name is Kelly (nee Dean). I am a Cook Islander and a Registered Nurse living in Hamilton, New Zealand. 

 

This morning in New Zealand we awoke to news of yet more persons infected by Measles. 

The current running total today being at almost 1000, and climbing daily. 

Most of these are located in Auckland, but there are pockets of it spread around New Zealand including recent cases in Hamilton where I am located, the Bay of Plenty, Northland and Wellington region.

Our local University, Waikato University is on high alert just this week after an infected person visited the campus. You can only imagine how much further the outbreak will spread after incidences like this.  

My concern lies not only with having a 9-month-old pepe at home with me who is not old enough to be vaccinated, and hence relies on the rest of us to be protected, but also to my family and friends who live in the Cook Islands. 

With the current spread, it is only a matter of time before someone makes it to your shores, most likely not knowing they have measles. 

It is a highly contagious viral illness spread through the air. In the early stages it takes form similar to that of the flu with symptoms including fever, cough, runny nose and/or sore red eyes. 

A characteristic measles rash then appears 3-5 days after someone starts to feel unwell. It generally starts on the face, and then spreads through the rest of the body and lasts about 1 week. 

Complications are common, and the worst affected are those children aged under 5 years. 1 out of 10 persons infected with Measles end up hospitalised. Our hospitals here are being over-run. Middlemore Hospital even has a dedicated measles ward, where it admits at least three patients a day. 

As per the Department of Health's recommendations, if you have not been immunised I urge you to do so. Just one dose of the MMR vaccine gives you up to 95 per cent protection against measles. Two doses give you up to 99 per cent. 

Please only travel to NZ if you have to, and please, please, please, do keep up your herd immunity, unlike us here in New Zealand.

It is your best protection against measles. 

Kia Manuia,

 

Kelly Davies

Registered Nurse