Measles prompts jab re­minder

Matamata Chronicle - - News - By KA­T­RINA LINTONBON

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.

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