Measles in Canterbury now 'in widespread circulation' as infections rise to 25

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FILE- A measles, mumps and rubella vaccine is seen on a countertop at a pediatrics clinic in Greenbrae, Calif. on February 6, 2015.

The risk to the public is considered low, and Interior Health is following up with people who may have come into contact with the patient.

New Zealand's ministry of health said in a statement in late February that since 2012 all cases of measles in New Zealand came from travelers bringing the disease from overseas.

After the detailed survey regarding the timely vaccination of children, the Health department found that nearly one-fifth of the Canterbury did not get regular vaccinations.

'Unimmunized people who come within 2 meters of an infectious person, however briefly, have a 90 per cent chance of contracting measles, ' the board said in an earlier statement on their website.

A public health nurse will review your vaccine history, determine your immunity to measles, and arrange for post-exposure prophylaxis if eligible. These are followed by a rash, which starts first on the face and neck, spreads to the chest, arms and legs, and lasts for at least three days.

If you think you may have the disease, call your local healthcare provider or local hospital or urgent care to set up a time to visit the office as to not expose the illness to others.

The best way to protect yourself and your loved ones against measles is to ensure vaccinations are up to date.

A further 18,000 vaccines are now being rushed to health centres throughout the Canterbury district and are expected to be available in practices from Wednesday, a board spokesman said via email.

"Measles is a serious and highly contagious disease that can spread quickly". Measles is transmitted via droplets from the nose, mouth or throat of infected persons.

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