Measles outbreak in New Zealand grows

The Auckland Ministry of Health recently announced that New Zealand’s current measles outbreak has reached 61 cases and shows no signs of abating.

An increased demand for vaccinations has flooded clinics on the nation’s largest island. Health officials are encouraging anyone who has not been vaccinated to do so, especially as school vacations get closer. The vaccine is being provided at no cost, according to

Pat Tuohy, the ministry’s child and youth adviser, told parents not to send their children to school holiday programs, sports tournaments or other holiday activities if they know their children are not immunized, unwell or may have recently been sick.

The two-month-old outbreak is the largest ever seen in the city of Auckland, and it has caused a surge in demand for the vaccine.

"We've had probably an additional 30 or 40 (vaccines) in the last couple of weeks,” Auckland nurse Emma Robertson said, reports. “We've had to order extra vaccine, we've almost run out.”

With current immunization rates in New Zealand believed to be around 90 percent, Dr. Tuohy said that the numbers are still too low to prevent further outbreaks of the airborne virus. To achieve the required immunity, the ministry said that 95 percent of two-year-olds will need to be vaccinated.