New Zealand’s preparedness ‘in place’ to combat measles epidemic

New Zealand’s preparedness ‘in place’ to combat measles epidemic

With the Auckland Regional Public Health Service cautioning that the measles outbreak in Auckland might set in motion a nationwide epidemic, the Health Ministry is

building up stocks of the measles vaccine. Thus far this year, there has been a ten-fold increase in the number of reported measles cases. As per the Health Minister, Tony

Ryall, Otago, Canterbury and Auckland have reported measles cases during the year. Commenting on the situation and the government's preparedness 'in place' to

combat a countrywide outbreak of measles, Ryall said: "So far this year New Zealand has had 149 cases of measles, which is more than 10 times the number for all of last

year. As well as the 30,000-plus extra doses of measles, mumps and rubella vaccine the ministry has already secured, they are sourcing more doses." Acknowledging that

measles is 'highly contagious' - for every case nearly 13 people can get affected - Ryall said that the serious consequences of the disease include pneumonia, ear

infections and, in the rarest of cases, even 'encephalitis' of brain infection. The Health Ministry has advised doctors and practice nurses to initiate precautionary measures

like - administering MMR vaccine to the un-immunized children aged between 12 months and 12 years; immunizing all un-immunized contacts of a measles case; and

encouraging adults born after 1969 to get vaccinated, in case they have not been immunized.