Measles prompts jab reminder
If you want to protect your children from contracting highly contagious illnesses such as measles or meningococcal disease having them vaccinated is absolutely vital, according to Matamata based immunisation education facilitator Michelle Tanner.
Waikato District Health Board figures released on Monday confirmed 12 cases all linked to Te Awamutu College in students aged between 13 and 16. All the students who contracted measles were not immunised.
A further nine cases were investigated that were negative for measles. There are seven cases still awaiting test results.
Mrs Tanner said there was a possibility that cases of measles could be seen in Matamata.
‘‘Geographically we are very close to Te Awamutu. All it takes is for one child who has contracted measles to come into contact with a child or person from Matamata who is not immunised and you have an outbreak,’’ she said. In recent weeks, the 0800IMMUNE phone line has been running red hot with concerned parents ringing to seek advice about immunisation. A lot of the concerns are focused around measles but following the sudden death of Fulton Hogan chief executive Bill Perry from type C meningococcal disease parents have been asking a lot of questions about meningococcal disease.
‘‘ You have parents who don’t even think twice about immunising their children – they just do it. Then you have the ones who have are very undecided and then there are parents who will never consider immunising their children,’’ she said.
‘‘ Measles used to kill millions of children each year worldwide. It still kills hundreds of thousands each year.’’
Communications have been sent out to schools in the Matamata area to make sure people are vigilant and that they are ready to act should a pupil start displaying symptoms of measles. These include a fever and a general feeling of unwellness.
Mrs Tanner said she was available to speak to anyone in a group or one-on-one if they wanted to know more about immunisation.
For more information go to www.immune.org.nz or phone 0800 IMMUNE (466 863).
Vital: Fifteenmonth-old Milani Mataitoga is comforted by her mum as nurse Sue Rea administers 15-month vaccinations.