Thursday, 21 August 2014

7. Health Snippets - Measles and Scabies

Since December last year there have been 190 confirmed cases of measles in New Zealand and of those, 20% have required hospital treatment.  The outbreak has so far been limited to the North Island, mainly Auckland and the Waikato areas.  However, as people travel around the country (holidays, sports tournaments etc.) the risk is high that the disease will spread to other areas.

The best protection against measles is vaccination.

Make sure your child has had 2 doses of the MMR measles, mumps and rubella vaccine, as per the National Immunisation Schedule.  Most of the people contracting measles so far have been in the 10-24 years age group.

If you are unsure of how many MMR vaccinations your child has had, please get in touch with your practice nurse at your medical centre.  MMR vaccine is free for anyone born after 1 January 1969 who has not had 2 documented doses of the vaccine.

For more information go to

Scabies infections are relatively common among children and can spread easily by direct body contact.  Scabies parasites burrow into the skin causing red, raised 'bumps' on the skin which are very itchy.  The most common sites for scabies infections are the hands, wrists and elbows, but can happen on other parts of the body too.

It is important to treat the scabies infection to avoid it spreading to other people at home or at school.  Constant scratching of the skin can lead to skin infections, which may need treatment with antibiotics.  Scabies treatments can be bought over-the-counter at a pharmacy or can be prescribed by a GP.  Everyone in the household must be treated at the same time and clothes, bed linen and towels washed in hot water. 

Scabies rashes can look like eczema, so if you are in doubt about your child's rash, please see your GP.

For more information go to

Your public health nurse is Nikki McMillan  ph 433 1162

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