Measles case puts hundreds of Aucklanders at risk

A confirmed case of measles in Auckland poses a serious risk to the public, the head to the Auckland regional public health service says.

On Thursday, the Auckland Regional Public Health Service (ARPHS) warned that it had been notified of an individual with measles who attended the Clendon Medical Centre on three occasions between Feburary 19 and 21.

The individual was then assessed at the Middlemore Hospital emergency department on the evening of February 21.

The health authority is now contacting other patients who may have been exposed to the highly contagious disease at the medical centre or Middlemore Hospital.

ARPHS medical officer of health Dr Jay Harrower told NZME hundreds of people could be at risk, and they were contacting those who could have contracted the disease.

"The medical centre and emergency department have given us a list of about 150 people," Harrower said.

Family and friends of people exposed to the disease will also need to be checked out.

Measles is a life threatening disease and Dr Harrower says it's important to speak to authorities if you believe yourself or somebody you know has it.

"If you feel unwell, please don't just turn up. It is important to call first, because measles is highly infectious and you could infect others in the waiting room," he said.

Measles usually begins with a high fever, runny nose, cough and sore red eyes, followed by a rash starting behind the ears and spreading to the body a few days later.

But symptoms often won't show for 10-14 days after the person becomes infected.

It can be prevented through use of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccination, which is recommended to be given to children in two doses at the ages of 15 months and four years of age.

In an outbreak children can be given the first dose at any time from 12 months of age, and the second dose as early as 28 days later.