Measles case count rises to six
A Whanga¯rei child who was last week reported as Northland’s fifth measles victim (Another case of measles, June 4) has been cleared, but two new cases have been notified, taking the region’s tally to six.
The ‘false positive’ diagnosis of the preschooler prompted the Three Little Birds childcare centre in Tikipunga to voluntarily close its doors, with staff and children who did not have full immunisation asked to remain in isolation for 14 days.
The Northland District Health Board confirmed on Tuesday that the initial results from tests carried out at a laboratory in Auckland had been incorrect, further testing over the weekend proving that the boy did not have measles.
Three Little Birds’ operations manager Elysa Schuster said the experience had been stressful for everyone, including the child and his family, a difficult few days being made by negative feedback via social media, accusing the centre of being lax.
“That’s so unfair, we did everything by the book. This could have happened anywhere,” she said.
The DHB said the centre had acted responsibly, microbiologist Dr David Hammer saying every potential case had to be treated with high suspicion until proven otherwise.
“Although nucleic acid amplification tests are usually extremely accurate, no test is perfect, and occasionally we will encounter false positive and false negative results,” he added.
Meanwhile the two latest confirmed cases were family members of a 19-yearold netballer who was admitted to ICU with a complication of measles.
Two premier netball teams were put in isolation after coming in contact with the player. They were now in isolation, and the teenager was well on the road to recovery, a DHB spokesman said.
Thirty-six people, including the two teams, had been put into home isolation, while the DHB had since identified more than 100 contacts, and was working to establish who had no evidence of immunity.