Tauranga mum's warning to parents as three out of four children hospitalised with measles

Tauranga mum Stephanie Peeni has had the most traumatic month of her life after three of her four children were hospitalised with measles.

She was afraid her three-year-old twin girl Valentina wouldn't pull through.

"There was a moment when she wasn't really responsive, her eyes were swollen shut. She'd had fevers of 41C."

Her twins had one MMR jab, giving them 95 percent coverage, but missed the second when they moved country.

Then seven-month-old Manaia, who is too young to get vaccinated, got sick.

"She had the rash all over her torso, her lips were blue, she was struggling to breathe and just coughing so hard," says Peeni.

"I've never experienced anything like it in my life and I was so naive in thinking measles was just a rash and a fever."

She's now warning other parents to take the disease seriously.

In south Auckland, 1000 students are being told to stay home as the city's measles outbreak grows.

Manurewa High School has 14 confirmed cases of the illness so far.

"We're currently dealing with 10 confirmed cases, four pending, which we're expecting to be confirmed, and that's literally increasing on a daily basis," says Pete Jones, principal of Manurewa High School. 

Jones says they're trying to find out just how many pupils haven't been vaccinated.

"The reality of that is it's a lot higher than anyone thought." 

Those who can't prove it are being sent home, and Jones now wants a vaccination station set up at the school.

And it's not the only school in the area struggling with measles. A recent case at Rowandale Primary School caused bedlam.

"We had to prevent 17 teachers and seven support staff from coming to school for at least 10 days, they were put into quarantine, they had to get blood tests done," says Karl Vasau, principal of Rowandale Primary School.

And 170 pupils had to stay off school too.

There are now more than 700 cases of measles across Auckland, and just over 500 in the Counties Manukau DHB area alone, and counting.