Auckland schools and childcare centres have been told to send home all unvaccinated children and staff if they get a case of measles this term.

The move comes as schools reopen today after a two-week holiday in which 70 new measles cases were reported across Auckland – almost half as many again as the 157 cases in the first six months of this year to July 4.

Two-thirds of the new cases (45) were in south Auckland, and the biggest group affected so far this year is children under 4 (43 per cent).

Medical Officer of Health Dr Julia Peters said almost 50 Auckland early childhood services and schools have now reported measles cases – about half of them early childhood centres, and including some where staff caught the disease first.

“Auckland Regional Public Health Service (ARPHS) will be asking schools and early learning services to check staff immunity,” she said.

“With a new term, ARPHS expects a rise in the number of cases involving schoolchildren, meaning non-immune children and teachers exposed to the virus will have to stay at home, as well as the person with measles.

“Measles is one of the most highly infectious viruses, and anyone who has been in a classroom with a case is at risk of developing the illness if they are not vaccinated or immune. Non-immune staff and students have to go into quarantine at home for one to two weeks.

“Being in quarantine means staying at home, away from school, work, public places, transport and events like birthday parties and sports games.”

NZ Herald

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