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Measles hits Waikato schools, Nelson teen

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 16/05/2016

Measles is untreatable but easily preventagle through vaccinations © Getty Images Measles is untreatable but easily preventagle through vaccinations Measles has broken out in three parts of the country, closing two Waikato schools for a day and leading to warnings over the illness.

The measles has turned up in Waikato (22 confirmed cases), Northland (four) and Nelson (one).

Morrinsville College and one Fairfield College each had a student come down with measles.

As a precaution Morrinsville closed on Monday, telling parents only students with written proof they've had two doses of the measles, mumps, rubella vaccine could attend later in the week.

Fairfield has also asked for similar paperwork but remained open.

Morrinsville College has a roll of nearly 700. On Tuesday morning the school didn't have a handle on the exact numbers but most had provided the paperwork.

About 300 provided the paperwork on Monday and about another 300 more on Tuesday morning.

Only two staff were off and their absence was covered by relievers, meaning very little disruption, says acting principal Scott Jenkins.

"We've been blown away with how supportive people have been. It's been a collective community response," he told NZ Newswire.

Those students forced to stay home could continue their school work online and contact their teachers via email.

A Nelson teenager who had been in Hamilton has also been confirmed with measles, but the Nelson Marlborough DHB isn't urging the student's school to close. The DHB was following up with people who had been in contact.

In Northland there have been four confirmed cases and more are expected.

"Given these cases and the bigger outbreak in the Waikato region occurring now, it is very possible that we will see this outbreak extend across Northland," said medical officer of health Clair Mills.

Measles is highly infectious. It starts with a fever and usually a cough or runny nose, and perhaps sore, red eyes before the rash appears. One in 10 people needs hospital treatment.

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