A measles outbreak is ongoing throughout New Zealand as of Friday, September 6. Since January 1, 1059 cases have been confirmed nationwide. At least 881 of confirmed cases have been reported in the Auckland region. New Zealand’s Health Ministry is calling for all residents between the ages of 12 and 50 to get vaccinated if they have not been already. Further spread of the disease is likely in the near term.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease that typically affects mostly children. It is transmitted via droplets from the nose, mouth, or throat of infected persons. Symptoms of measles are usually a high fever, which begins approximately ten to 12 days after exposure to the virus and lasts four to seven days. A runny nose, a cough, red and watery eyes, and small white spots inside the cheeks can develop in the initial stage. After several days, a rash erupts, usually on the face and upper neck. Over the course of about three days, the rash spreads, eventually reaching the hands and feet. The rash lasts for five to six days and then fades. On average, the rash occurs 14 days after exposure to the virus (within a range of seven to 18 days). A vaccine is available.
Individuals in New Zealand are advised to ensure their measles vaccination is up to date (including booster shots) and to contact their doctor with any questions or concerns. Anyone experiencing the above symptoms is urged to seek immediate medical attention.
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