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Measles - update and resources

Measles is a highly infectious disease that is easily spread from an infected person by saliva or mucous droplets when coughing, sneezing or talking. Just being in the same room as someone with measles can lead to infection for those who are not immunised.

Measles outbreak response 

Thank you to general practices and healthcare staff for the support and ongoing efforts to respond to the national measles outbreak. The outbreak is ongoing but has tapered off significantly, with just seven cases of measles in January 2020. Consequently, the Ministry of Health has stepped down its emergency response to this outbreak but will continue to monitor the situation closely.

The email address will continue to be monitored for the next few weeks. Please ensure that all measles cases are entered onto EpiSurv and any new outbreaks are reported to as outlined in the Ministry's Communicable Disease Control Manual.

Next steps to increase measles immunisation rates

Many practices will have lists of people who have waited patiently to receive a vaccine. There is now enough MMR vaccine available to vaccinate more broadly.

Under PHARMAC's Pharmaceutical Schedule, a maximum of two doses can be given to any person meeting the following criteria.

  1. For primary vaccination in children.
  2. Revaccination following immunosuppression.
  3. Any individual susceptible to measles, mumps or rubella (which includes unvaccinated adults under age 50).
  4. A maximum of three doses for children who have had their first dose prior to 12 months.

Immunisation service providers are asked to focus on ensuring infants receive their MMR vaccinations on time and improving the immunity of 5-14 year olds. This should include the active recall of all children in this age range who have not had any MMR vaccination.

Please also ensure that all MMR doses administered are recorded on the National Immunisation Register (NIR), unless the patient specifically requests it not to be recorded. The measles outbreak highlighted the information gap created by the lack of national records for people aged 14 and over and not automatically enrolled on the NIR. 

National measles immunisation campaign

A new measles immunisation campaign is scheduled to commence in May 2020. This will be targeted at young adults, aged 15-29, with a focus on Mâori and Pacific individuals. PHARMAC has sourced more than 350,000 additional MMR vaccines for the campaign; the vaccines are scheduled to arrive by the end of April 2020. The Ministry will work with DHBs to develop local plans for vaccinating this group to ensure the campaign reaches young adults in their communities.

MMR0 changes in Auckland and beyond

In response to the reduction in case numbers, Auckland Regional Public Health, the three Auckland DHBs and the Ministry of Health have agreed to discontinue MMR0 for babies aged six to 11 months who live in Auckland or who are travelling to Auckland. The first dose of MMR (MMR1) will continue to be administered at 12 months in the Auckland region.

As part of Immunisation Schedule changes in October 2020, the first dose of MMR will move to be administered at 12 months of age across the rest of New Zealand. At the same time, the second dose of MMR will move to be administered at 15 months of age, replacing the current MMR immunisation event at 4 years of age. Further information will follow about this and other changes to the schedule.  

Measles - Travel PDF 362.25 kB Attention - You could have measles PDF 373.25 kB Waikato DHB measles flowchart for notifiers DOCX 46.32 kB Suspected measles for patients 2 (Auckland Regional Public Health information) DOCX 178.13 kB Waikato DHB measles poster PDF 172.8 kB Suspected measles for patients 1 (Auckland Regional Public Health information) DOCX 137.52 kB Measles for close contacts of cases 1 (Auckland Regional Public Health information) DOCX 146.33 kB Measles for close contacts of cases 2 (Auckland Regional Public Health information) DOCX 145.55 kB Measles for patients (Auckland Regional Public Health information) DOCX 129.17 kB Think Measles PDF 283.98 kB Do you have measles symptoms? (Editable practice sign - PowerPoint) MISC 60.46 kB Auckland measles whanau pack GPs and EDs (Auckland Regional Public Health information) DOCX 560.34 kB Waikato DHB measles notification form DOCX 20.86 kB

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