Preparing for and spotting measles


Clutha Health First is positive it is prepared should the measles come here.

It is well known that there is a highly infectious measles outbreak in New Zealand, and while Auckland is bearing the brunt of cases, Queenstown has also suffered.

Recent Health Ministry reports cite more than 1000 confirmed cases of the highly contagious disease, mostly in Auckland.

The Southern District Health Board released an advisory notice on Saturday saying a total of 15 cases had been registered in the Queenstown area.

Eight new cases were confirmed over the weekend, six of the new cases being NZ ski staff who work at the Remarkables skifields and two were primary school-aged children.

While measles is highly infectious and can be life-threatening, vaccination offers protection.Staff at Clutha Health First said their phones had been very busy in recent weeks but chief executive officer Ray Anton said he was confident of the processes implemented to enable them to handle any infectious patients.

“We did a review and confirmed that the immunisation history of all our staff was up to date so there are no concerns there.

“Next, we have created a very effective infectious control process to handle any patients coming in who may be showing signs of the virus,” he said.

are worried about their health, if they are suffering any of the known indicators of measles then could they please call first and the staff will guide them to the right area of the hospital, set aside to handle possibly infectious patients.

“Please don’t just show up and sit in the waiting room because this virus is highly infectious. It’s airborne and can easily be passed on to others even if you have recently left the room.

“Vaccinations are the key to combating this virus and the Clutha district has one of the highest vaccination rates per head of population,” he said

Mr Anton said he was proud of the work his staff had undertaken in preparation should an infectious patient appear on site and urged everyone to check their vaccination status.

The CHF has been taking advice from the Southern District Health Board (SDHB) and WellSouth medical officers of health in regard to the information it is providing its patients.

As per Ministry of Health guidelines, patients born between 1969 and 1996 should check their immunisation status by checking their Plunket books if they are planning to travel to Auckland or Queenstown.

If they cannot confirm that they have had two doses of the measles vaccine, then patients enrolled with CHF should consider taking a second dose of the vaccine.

Patients must keep up-to-date with the current situation by checking on either the, or websites or phone Health Line on 0800 611-116.

Mr Anton said for those inoculated not to worry as this epidemic would pass, as viruses like this always took their own course and eventually the number of cases would fall as containment processes began to restrict the case numbers to smaller and smaller defined areas of infection. If in doubt call your medical practitioner.