Source: Radio New Zealand
The Waikato District Health Board has
ordered a college to close, and its 700 students and staff will
have to prove they have been vaccinated for measles - or they won't
be allowed back on school grounds.
In a letter sent to parents on Friday, Morrinsville College
acting principal Scott Jenkins confirmed a student had contracted
measles and the school would be closed today.
The board's medical officer of health, Richard Wall, said those
who had not been vaccinated must stay at home and not return to the
school until 24 May.
The school will reopen tomorrow to those who can provide written
evidence they had been given two MMR, or measles vaccinations.
Bronwyn O'Sullivan has a child at Morrinsville College and said
the measles case was a reminder of the need to stay up to date with
vaccinations to keep children healthy.
One of her children had accidentally missed her second booster
shot but received it this morning.
Ms O'Sullivan said the school had responded brilliantly by
following the instructions of the Medical Officer of Health when a
student at the school was confirmed to have measles.
She said she had not heard of any parents at the school who did
not want their children vaccinated.
Michael Baker from the Department of Public Health at Otago
University toldMorning Report the school was doing the right
thing to try to limit the outbreak.
"Measles is a serious illness, one in 10 people who get infected
will go to hospital, and people may get encephalitis, pneumonia,
middle-ear damage ... it's the most infectious disease we know of,"
The disease has an incubation period of about 10 days, so it
will take two to three weeks see what will happen with this
epidemic, he said.
Acting Principal Scott Jenkins said there has been a positive
response to the steps the school has taken after a student was
confirmed to have measles.
He said parents were aware there was a wider collective
responsibility to ensure the safety of students, and staff were
also acting responsibly.
"There's been a lot of teachers racing around over the weekend
and today getting shots and trying to find their documents.
"As you'll appreciate it's harder because of the long length of
time and because some of our teachers come from overseas and they
have to collect all of those aswell."
Mr Jenkins said he knows of only one parent who had contacted
the school to say they would not be vaccinating their child.
Professor Baker said measles is very close to being eliminated
in New Zealand but there may still be pockets of the community that
are not vaccinated.
The health board said it was dealing with 20 confirmed cases of
the measles, and another possible 12.