New Zealand National Measles and Rubella Laboratory

Canterbury Health Laboratories has been designated the World Health Organization (WHO) National Measles and Rubella Laboratory (NMRL) for New Zealand since March 2005. 

The NMRL’s aim is to provide laboratory support for measles/rubella outbreak investigation and confirmation of measles/rubella cases using WHO recommended methods. 

The specific objectives are to:

  • Provide laboratory support for measles/rubella surveillance and outbreak investigation
  • Provide laboratory confirmation of serologically identified measles/rubella cases
  • Collect samples from clinically suspected measles cases to identify measles/rubella virus strains
  • Participate in the WHO regional laboratory network for the Western Pacific region 

Monitoring measles/rubella virus strains is an important tool in the identification of related outbreaks and helps with the World Health Organization’s commitment to eradicate the measles and rubella viruses globally.

Important: Patients having the suspicion of being infected with measles or rubella virus should not visit their GP without prior telephone contact since both viruses are highly contagious and can easily be transmitted in the waiting room.