Other Infectious Risks

Infectious diseases are monitored and reported by Canterbury by Community & Public Health. Some diseases are notifiable by health practitioners to the Medical Officer of Health. These include: campylobacter, salmonella, giardia, typhoid, cholera, listeria, hepatitis A, B and C, measles, mumps, pertussis (whooping cough), rubella, meningitis, legionella, avian influenza and, now, coronavirus (COVID-19).

Prevention is a priority for Community & Public Health and the National Immunisation Programme is helpful to protect against many diseases. For more information about immunization, click here. For more information on Infectious Disease Management, see the Ministry of Health guidelines here.

 

Novel Coronavirus (SARS-C0V-2)

A novel type of coronavirus, known as COVID-19 (the pathogen is called SARS-CoV-2), is a reportable disease. It has been identified as originating in the Wuhan, Hubei province of China. Symptoms are similar to a range of other illnesses such as influenza, including fever, coughing, and difficulty breathing. Information is being updated daily on the Ministry of Health website, or check out our other resources below. All previous updates and resources are also available on our Resources page.

The Ministry of Health has produced Q&As for primary health care workers and this is available here.

Case Definition

The current case definition for COVID-19 can be found here. This is subject to change as more is known about the epidemiology of the virus as well as its clinical presentation. Patients must be assessed and meet the case definition in order to be swabbed.

Clinical pathways for assessing suspect COVID-19 patients and referral guidelines to the Community-based Assessment Centre (CBAC) can be found on HealthPathways.

  • Where possible, assess potential cases in the patient’s car or a designated area away from the patient waiting room.
  • Ask the patient to clean their hands and put on a surgical mask while in public areas (ideally before arrival in the practice).
  • Contact and droplet precautions (with a surgical mask) are recommended for assessing patients with confirmed or suspected SARS-CoV-2.
  • Avoid nebulisers.
  • Positive cases must be notified to the Medical Officer of Health.

Travel Restrictions

  • Category 1A: People travelling from any country cannot travel to New Zealand.
  • Category 1B: NZ citizens and residence class visa holders; partner, legal guardian or dependent children travelling with a NZ citizen or residence class visa holder; Australian citizens and permanent residence class visa holders ordinarily resident in NZ; people subject to regulation 25 of the Immigration Regulations 2010, which includes air and marine crew; and diplomats accredited to NZ and currently resident in NZ can travel to New Zealand but must self-isolate for 14 days.
  • Any travellers to New Zealand who develop a cough, fever or shortness of breath within 14 days of departure, should call Healthline on 0800 358 5453.

Resources

The Canterbury HealthInfo website has many excellent resources and information for patients. Refer patients to: https://www.healthinfo.org.nz/. In addition we have prepared these two patient leaflets:

Websites
Updates
Guidelines
Posters
Videos
  • CPRG Video Update 10 March –  Dr Phil Schroeder:

 

Measles

A review of the Canterbury measles response has been completed and feedback has been received from a wide group of stakeholders, including general practice teams. CPRG extends their gratitude to general practice for their extraordinary response. The recommendations can be reviewed in the link below:

Immunisation is the best protection to stop people from getting measles. According to the 20 November 2019 National Health Advisory, the current national priorities for active recall for MMR (measles, mumps rubella) vaccination are:

  • Ensure all children receive their vaccinations on time at 15 months (12 months in Auckland) and four years to maintain the national Childhood Immunisation Schedule
  • Susceptible close contacts within 72 hours of first exposure to measles when possible
  • Babies aged six months to 11 months who live in Auckland or who are travelling to Auckland or overseas to a country that has an active outbreak of measles
  • In accordance with the National Immunisation Schedule, all children under five who have not received either dose of MMR should be actively recalled. We consider active recall of this group to be in line with the priority groups
  • People under the age of 50 travelling from New Zealand to Samoa, Tonga, Philippines, and Fiji
  • People travelling to a region where there is an active outbreak of measles – regions with measles outbreaks can be found here.

“Anyone who is not immunised and gets exposed to a case of measles will need to stay home for at least 14 days to ensure the virus doesn’t spread,” says Dr Caroline McElnay, Director of Public Health at the Ministry of Health.

Anyone who suspects they may have measles should avoid contact with other people, especially those who aren’t fully immunised, and phone their General Practice team. For more information either look here or call 0800 IMMUNE.

Recent measles updates from CPRG:

Ebola

The last Ebola scare in New Zealand was in 2015, but it pays to be aware of worldwide trends. The Ministry of Health has an excellent resource for health providers here or visit HealthPathways.

Ebola Resources

Donning PPE – Alberta Canada Poster

Doffing PPE – Alberta, Canada Poster