Measles Outbreak Warning Issued For Auckland New Zealand
The US Embassy & Consulate in New Zealand issued a measles outbreak advisory, with a particular focus on the Auckland region.
This new State Department advisory on September 5, 2019, says the ‘New Zealand Ministry of Health is advising those with travel plans to Auckland to ensure every family member has been vaccinated against measles prior to commencing travel, keeping in mind that the vaccine takes two weeks to become effective.’
New Zealand's measles outbreak has reached 1,051 confirmed measles cases with 877 of these confirmed cases are in the Auckland region during 2019.
Since 2012, all cases of measles in New Zealand have been linked to travelers bringing the disease from overseas, says the Ministry of Health.
The measles virus is very contagious and is spread through the air by breathing, coughing, or sneezing. Measles symptoms include a rash, high fever, cough, runny nose, and red, watery eyes.
This US Embassy advisory continued to say ‘We strongly recommend that U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in New Zealand enroll in the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).
The free STEP service gives you access to the latest security updates, and makes it easier for the U.S. embassy or nearest U.S. consulate to contact you in an emergency.’
Previously, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a worldwide measles outbreak alert on June 11, 2019. This Level 1 Travel Alert includes the country of New Zealand.
The CDC Travel Alert says ‘unvaccinated travelers infected with measles overseas have brought the disease back to the United States, causing outbreaks among unvaccinated people in their local communities.’
The CDC offers this travel advice:
- Before your trip, check your destination for health risks.
- Consult with a travel medicine provider at least 1-month before your trip to allow time to receive vaccinations, medicines, and advice that you may need.
- Make sure you are up-to-date on all of your routine vaccines, including the MMR.
And, the CDC updated it’s measles vaccination recommendations for international travelers on May 13, 2019, which are as follows:
- Infants (6 through 11 months old): 1 dose of measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine before travel. This dose does not count as the first dose in the routine childhood vaccination series,
- People 12 months old or older, with no evidence of immunity or no written documentation of any doses: 2 doses of MMR vaccine before travel. The 2 doses must be given 28 days apart,
- People 12 months old or older, who have written documentation of 1 dose and no other evidence of immunity: 1 additional dose before travel, at least 28 days after the previous dose.
The US Embassy says to contact its website for up-to-date information on travel restrictions. You can also call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries.
Additionally, the CDC says to make sure you are up-to-date on routine vaccines before every trip. These vaccines include the diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella vaccine, polio vaccine, and your yearly flu shot.
Schedule your travel vaccines at Vax-Before-Travel.
Financial support programs for these vaccines can be found at Vaccine Discounts.
As a general notice, the CDC says ‘any vaccine can cause a side effect, which should be reported to a healthcare provider, or to the CDC.’
Published by Vax Before Travel
- US Embassy and Consulate in New Zealand: Message for American Citizens regarding the Measles
- US Department of State: New Zealand - Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions
- CDC: Health Information for Travelers to New Zealand
- CDC: Global Measles Outbreak Notice
- New Zealand Health: 2019 measles outbreak information