Auckland measles cases rise to 115


By Radio New Zealand

The number of measles cases in Auckland has risen by seven since Friday, and now stands at 115.

The increase was confirmed by the Auckland Regional Public Health Service this morning.

The city is experiencing an outbreak of the highly contagious and potentially life threatening viral illness.

The worst affected area has been west Auckland, but the Public Health Service says a growing number of cases are in South Auckland.

Measles is highly contagious and infects about 90 percent of people who come into contact with it who are not immune. It can live in the air for hours after a person has been coughing and sneezing in the area.

People who think they might have measles are advised not to visit their doctor but instead call their GP to avoid spreading the illness.

Early symptoms include fever, cough, runny nose and watery ‘pink’ eyes, and sometimes small white spots on the back inner cheek. Measles can lead to complications including pneumonia and, in rarer cases, brain swelling or death.

The disease has been on the rise across the world in recent years, with cases tripling worldwide.

Proponents of anti-vaccination have often been blamed for widespread lack of immunity, but researchers say an ‘immunity gap’ affecting an entire generation is more to blame.