Measles Alert for Basketball New Zealand Under 15 Nationals

A warning to anyone who attended the basketball Under 15 Nationals, you may be at risk for measles.

Toi Te Ora Public Health is urging those who attended the Nationals tournament at Trustpower Arena in Mount Maunganui, between 17th – 20th July, to be vigilant for the symptoms of measles, after a participant took part while unknowingly infectious with measles.

Bay of Plenty and Lakes Medical Officer of Health, Dr Neil de Wet, says that team members, family, staff and other spectators who attended the tournament may have been exposed to measles. 

“Measles is highly infectious and spreads easily from person to person.  Anyone who attended the tournament and is not immune to measles may be at risk of infection,” says Dr de Wet.

“Early symptoms of measles include fever, cough, runny nose and sore red eyes, and this is followed a few days later by a red, blotchy rash usually starting on the face before moving down the body.”

He says it can take seven to 14 days after exposure to start developing symptoms, so anyone who is not immune and attended the tournament should be on the lookout for the symptoms of measles over the next two weeks. 

Those who suspect they have symptoms should stay at home and phone a doctor ahead of visiting any GP clinic, to minimize infection. You can also call Healthline on 0800 611 116 for advice. 

Toi Te Ora asks people please do not just turn up their GP clinic, after hours or emergency department without first phoning ahead, as you could potentially infect others in the waiting room.

Dr de Wet says the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine is the best protection to prevent measles, and it’s free. 

He says after just one dose of MMR vaccine about 95 per cent of people will be protected from measles, and about 99 per cent of people who have had both MMR doses will be protected from measles.

Sam Gardner