Update for WHS from Regional Public Health

Thank you to all the staff, students and parents at WHS; in particular those in the specified year 12 classes.  Your prompt action in providing the school with the relevant immunisation records has meant the vast majority of year 12 students and staff have been able to continue or resume their school activities with limited disruption.

Measles is highly infectious and this intense follow up of the year 12 classes was necessary as these students and staff are at highest risk of contracting measles due to the amount of time they were in the same room as the person with measles.

However, we are asking all staff and students who were at school on Monday 16th September to be aware of the early symptoms of measles and to take prompt action if they become unwell.  This is particularly important if you have never had a measles vaccine (MMR) or measles disease (NOTE: people born before 1 January 1969 are considered immune as they grew up when measles was common in the community)

What should you do?

  • Watch out for the symptoms of measles until the end of Monday 30th . Note that the fever, runny nose and cough start a few days before the rash appears.
  • If you have never had measles immunisation or measles disease – try to avoid contact with people outside your home who may be at-risk of severe measles (i.e., babies who are too young to be vaccinated, people having cancer treatment or immunocompromised and anyone else not immune to measles) until the end of Monday 30th

What are the symptoms of measles?

  • The first symptoms are: fever, tiredness, runny nose, cough and sore red eyes.
  • After 3-5 days a red blotchy rash appears. The rash starts behind the ears, spreads to the face over 1-2 days and then spreads down to the body. The rash lasts for 4-7 days.

If you develop any symptoms of measles:

  • Keep away from public places (such as child care centres, work, shopping centres, or public transport) as soon as you develop any symptoms which may be caused by measles.
  • Contact a doctor as soon as possible so a diagnosis can be confirmed. Take this fact sheet along. Please phone the surgery ahead to let them know you may have measles. They will need to provide you with a face mask and keep you away from other patients. Alternatively contact Healthline 0800 611 116, for free advice from experienced nurses.

If you have any queries please contact your family doctor or practice nurse, or phone Regional Public Health Communicable Disease Team 04 570 9002 between 8.30am – 5.00pm weekdays or between 9am to 5pm on Saturday and Sunday.

Thank you for your help in reducing the impact of measles in our community.

Dr Annette Nesdale

Medical Officer of Health

Regional Public Health