Measles

This page provides information about measles including how it is spread, its symptoms, and how to get a vaccine.

Measles case confirmed at University

Monday 18 March, 2019: The Auckland Regional Public Health Service (ARPHS) has informed the University of Auckland that a first year student has contracted measles.

The University is working closely with ARPHS and is currently contacting directly all students and staff who may have shared classes with the student.
The classes involved were a lecture and tutorial for COMLAW 101 on Monday 11 March, a lecture and tutorial for ECON 151 on Tuesday 12 March, and a BUSINESS 101 lecture on Thursday 14 March (the 2.00pm to 4.00pm stream).
The student has not been hospitalised, but is under care at home.
This is the fourth case of measles notified in Auckland recently, but is not linked to the previous cases.

Measles is a highly infectious airborne virus that affects both children and adults. One in ten people with measles needs hospital treatment.
You are considered immune if you have had two doses of measles vaccine (MMR), if you are born before 1969, or have had a documented case of measles.
More information about measles is available on the ARPHS website.
 

What is it and what does it look like?

  • Measles is a very infectious and potentially serious viral illness.
  • It starts with a high fever and respiratory symptoms with one or more of the following:  runny nose, cough, red eyes and small white spots inside the mouth. 
  • Three or 4 days after catching measles a red blotchy rash appears, starting on the neck and face, then spreading over the entire body. 
  • The rash is not itchy and fades during the first week. A person with measles looks and feels unwell and about 10% need hospital admission.

Am I at risk?

You are considered susceptible if:

  • You have not received the correct number of measles vaccines for your age – in New Zealand, this is given in the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine, after your first birthday (15 months) and again when you're four-years-old.
  • You've never had measles before (as diagnosed by your doctor).
  • You've not had immunity shown on a blood test.
  • You are immune-suppressed.

What should I do?

  • See your doctor should you have symptoms as described above.
  • If you also have a rash you should ideally ring ahead so that appropriate isolation procedures can be arranged for your arrival at the medical practice rooms.
  • In some cases, a simple phone call or an email might be all you need to talk about your risk and your immunity.

How is it treated?

  • There is no specific treatment for the infection once contracted but it is preventable through vaccination which is usually initiated in childhood.
  • Although we have relatively high levels of immunity in New Zealand through vaccination, levels of protection can fall with time.
  • Global levels of vaccination vary so travellers can be at risk.

More information

For detailed information, visit the Ministry of Health website.