Measles reported at two east Auckland schools

Two cases of the highly contagious disease measles have been reported at two local schools.

Dr Julia Peters, clinical director at the Auckland Regional Public Health Service (ARPHS), confirmed there have been two cases of measles associated with Brookby School and Wakaaranga School.

No other schools in this area have had confirmed cases although Howick Primary thought it had a case.

“If there is a measles case in a school, ARPHS advises the Ministry of Education, and works with the school  to inform staff, students and their families,” Dr Peters said.

“Students who have shared a classroom with the case and who are not immune or unvaccinated are requested to stay away from school as they could be developing the illness.

“We are asking schools not to exclude non-immune or unvaccinated students and staff until the case is confirmed.  However, the suspected case does have to stay away from school until the diagnosis is confirmed. We are asking parents who think their child has measles to phone their GP surgery first so the child can be isolated on arrival.”

Wakaaranga school principal Brent Jenkin said late on Friday, June 28, they were notified of a measles case at the school.

“Because measles is a notifiable disease, we now need to follow Ministry of Health guidelines to try to minimise the spread of the measles virus at our school. This is now being managed following Boar of Trustee policy guidelines.

“Over the weekend we have made contact with those families where our records show that students are either not immunised or are not fully immunised.”

Where students were not immunised, the school has asked that the children do not return until after the upcoming school holidays. This is to enable the required 14 day quarantine period to be observed.

“Where students are partially immunised, we have asked that the parents of the children that they provide confirmation of full immunisation before returning to school. Failing that the required 14 day quarantine period is also to be observed.”

Brookby School confirmed a case of measles to parent in a notice on June 28, the day it was diagnosed. “The child is in quarantine  at home currently and was infectious here at school in Room 3 on Wed 19th of June and Thu 20th of June,” the notice said.

The school, who the Times has attempted to contact, advised parent sto keep non-immunised children at home for the rest of the term. “We have tried to contact those parents in Room 3 who have children that are not immunised, or may in fact have immune deficiencies,” the school said.

“If you haven’t already advised us of your child/ren’s current state of immunisations/immunity it would be a great time to update their records here at the school.”

Meanwhile Howick Primary School principal Leyette Callister said her school had a scare.

“The message came from a child who told her teacher she had recovered from measles. The information only came to the office, via the teacher late on Friday afternoon so we were unable to investigate further until Monday when we discovered the case was “non-notified”.

Ninety students out of 334 stayed home after the school published an advisory.

“It may appear we overreacted but we didn’t want to be seen as careless if this had proven to be measles. We have spent today (Monday) checking and updating all our immunisation records and are asking parents to check and send us this if our records are unclear as we recently changed over student management systems and not all the information transferred over.”

What are the symptoms of measles?

The symptoms include fever, cough, runny nose, sore red eyes and white spots inside the mouth. After three to five days a rash appears on the face and then moves down the body.

For information or advice on measles, call Healthline on 0800 611 116 or visit the Auckland Regional Public Health Service website.

 

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