Non-vaccinated students barred after measles case

Non-vaccinated students barred after measles case

The Morrinsville College grounds were empty today and are staying that way come school time tomorrow to prevent a potential measles outbreak.

The Waikato School was forced to take drastic action, shutting its doors to all students and staff until Tuesday, and Dr Richard Wall says even then they'll only be allowed in if they can prove they've been vaccinated.

"It's what we would call an outbreak and we don't have an outbreak every year; it unusual. It can be a serious disease, so we have to do everything that we can to try and stop the spread of it, and unfortunately it's very easy to spread."

The school was notified that one of its more than 700 students had measles, so any students or teachers that haven't had two vaccinations must stay home for a minimum of 14 days from their last known contact with the affected student.

Acting principal Scott Jenkins in a statement said many of the medical health officer's instructions will cause significant disruption to learning and will inconvenience many parents. But he says the school has absolutely no say in the matter.

The disease can be dangerous. One in 10 people who catch it need to be hospitalised.

Otago University Public health Professor Michael Baker says closing the school was the right decision.

"If you have an infectious child at a school, and this is the most infectious disease known, you need very high coverage to prevent further cases. So immunising and making sure students and staff are protected is a highly responsible action to take."