New Zealanders heading away these school holidays are being urged to make sure they’re well prepared for potential health risks overseas.
The Ministry of Health’s Acting Director of Public Health, Dr Stewart Jessamine says, ‘Falling ill when you’re travelling can ruin a great holiday.
‘It’s really important to plan ahead and find out about the possible health risks you and your family could face, in order to help stay well.
‘You should consider talking to your doctor about where you’re travelling to, and whether any special vaccinations are required.
‘It is important that travellers also make sure their routine vaccinations, including measles, are up to date before travelling overseas, to protect themselves and help prevent outbreaks in New Zealand.
‘Parents can check with their general practice to find out whether their children are up to date with their vaccinations. Teenagers in particular are more likely to have missed one or both of their two recommended doses of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine.’
A number of countries overseas continue to have measles outbreaks, including some countries in Europe, Asia (particularly the Philippines, Vietnam and China), Africa and India.
Closer to home, there have been outbreaks in the Pacific in parts of Australia, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia.
Detailed information about health risks overseas, including diseases like Zika virus, dengue fever and malaria that are carried by insects, is available on the Safe Travel website.
Anyone who becomes unwell within three weeks of returning from travel overseas should call their doctor or Healthline on 0800 611 116, and say where they have traveled.