Measles - update and resources
13 Mar 2019
Measles is a highly infectious disease that is easily spread from an infected person by saliva or mucous droplets when coughing, sneezing or talking. Just being in the same room as someone with measles can lead to infection for those who are not immunised.
On this page
- Immunisation facilitator contact details
- Information for the public
- Information for practices
- Answering questions from practices
Immunisation facilitators - contact details
Please contact the facilitator in your region as your first point of call regarding immunisation advice for your practice.
Helen Ride, Pinnacle Midlands Health Network
Phone 021 683 977 or email email@example.com
Mel Hurliman, Taranaki DHB
Phone (06) 753 7702 extn 8680 / 027 211 6357 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Kim Winckel, Lakes DHB - available Thursday, Friday and alternate Wednesdays, 8am-4.30pm
Phone (07) 343 7759 / 027 513 0931 or email email@example.com
(Please note as of 15 March Michelle van den Broek is no longer be in the role of immunisation service coordinator)
Janine Brown, Hauora Tairawhiti
Phone (06) 869 2092 extn 8765 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Information for the public
If you have patients with concerns who require general information you may wish to point them towards the HealthNavigator information on measles. This is prepared with the general public in mind.
Information for practices
National health advisory - MMR prioritisation, 14 March 2019
The Ministry of Health has advised "it is essential all practices outside of Canterbury maintain the National Immunisation Programme of MMR vaccination at ages 15 months and 4 years. There are sufficient national stocks of MMR vaccine to do this. Stocks are being managed carefully to meet everyone's needs. Please order according to actual usage not anticipated demand.
Because of the constraints around vaccine supplies, we do not at this stage recommend practices elsewhere in the country proactively recall older children and adults for catch up immunisation. One dose of MMR or measles vaccine will protect 95 per cent of vaccinated people against measles, so patients who have previously been vaccinated are likely to be protected. However if unvaccinated people request vaccination you should vaccinate if you have MMR vaccine. Otherwise please arrange vaccination at a later stage when demand on supplies has lessened."
Resources and advice
The Immunisation Advisory Centre (IMAC) web page "Measles overseas and in New Zealand" is an excellent source of up to date information. It contains:
- advice on measles overseas
- advice for health professionals in New Zealand
- measles within New Zealand - including numbers of confirmed cases by DHB area
- MMR vaccination advice
- advice for primary care - funding/eligibility, immunisation records and precall information
- further resources - including MMR fact sheets, measles fact sheets, MOH information and releases and other useful websites.
Also see the Ministry of Health information for health professionals web page
for a range of downloadable/printable resources and advice.
Answering questions we've had from practices
With current media coverage daily of the situation in Christchurch, Auckland and now Dunedin we understand your practice will be facing increased questions from the public, and within the practice too. Here are some specific concerns raised to our team so far.
There is rising concern in our communities - how shall we handle vaccination requests from the public?
- Point your patients to information sources online - see above "information for the public".
- Immunisation is the best protection - offer immunisation as appropriate and check with your immunisation facilitator for up to date information on priority groups to target.
- The IMAC website is an excellent source of information on MMR vaccination - particularly around precalls at this time (see the section 'advice for primary care').
Should we put up signs on the door?
- It is probably a good idea to raise awareness at this time.
- There are posters and flyers available below, or on the websites mentioned above that you may wish to use in your practice.
The immunisation authority guidelines say that if a patient with a case of confirmed measles happened to have been sitting in the waiting room then we need to get a record of everyone who was in the room, this could be up to 40 people for us at times...
Measles is one of the most contagious of all infectious diseases - up to 9 out of 10 susceptible persons with close contact to a measles patient will develop measles. The virus is transmitted by direct contact with infectious droplets or by airborne spread when an infected person breathes, coughs, or sneezes. It survives in the air for up to two hours after the person has left the room. There is a risk of contracting measles after only 15 minutes in a room with a contagious patient.
- Practices need to be prepared to implement infection prevention and control. IMAC advice includes keeping an accurate record of walk-in patients and other visitors in case contact tracing is required, and identifying suitable triage and isolation areas for suspected measles cases.
- Allow only immune staff to have contact with the patient.
- User appropriate personal protective equipment (e.g. N95 masks).
- Place signs, hand gels and surgical masks at waiting room entrances and reception desks.
- Notify the medical officer of health as soon as you suspect measles - do not wait for a laboratory confirmation.
What about infection control procedures - for example how do we clean the isolation room after use?
After the triage and isolation area has been vacated surfaces should be washed down with a disinfectant following the instructions on the product. The New Zealand Ministry of Health recommend that a when a person with a high suspicion of measles has been in a room it is left vacant for ONE hour after their departure. Staff dealing with patients in the triage and isolation areas should wash their hands before and after contact with the patient.