New Zealand calls for vaccination against measles following outbreak

14 March, 2019, 07:56 | Author: Veronica Peterson
  • Measles outbreak in New Zealand's Canterbury widens to 20

Two doses of the MMR vaccine are about 97 percent effective at protecting children from measles, according to the CDC.

Canterbury Medical Officer of Health, Dr Ramon Pink says measles is now in widespread circulation and people who aren't fully immune could be exposed to the risk of infection anywhere in Canterbury.

Measles cases are on the rise nationwide, as more parents choose to not vaccinate their children.

The number of recorded measles infections globally doubled to 229,000 a year ago, the World Health Organization (WHO) said in February.

"Since the beginning of this year, New Zealand has seen an increase in measles cases", it said.

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A severe measles outbreak, described as the worst "in years" continues to spread in the Canterbury region of the South Island, with health authorities saying 100,000 people need to be urgently vaccinated, and more cases of the highly infectious illness are expected in the coming days and weeks. The highly contagious disease is spread by coughing, sneezing, close personal contact or direct contact with infected nose or throat secretions.

If your child has been immunized and still gets the virus, Shapiro said he or she won't get as sick a kid who was never vaccinated.

Data from 2018 shows that 10% of cases are between 6 and 15 years of age, whereas 15% are between 16 and 30 years of age.

Babies whose mother is immune will have some protection if they are now being breastfed.

For every 1,000 children who get measles, one or two will die. That move followed congressional testimony from Ethan Lindenberger, a high school senior who described how his mother got anti-vaccine information nearly exclusively from Facebook. "It's just a matter of where it is and that's why we say to call ahead just to make sure that where you want to go has it available". The county health director says the department has identified everyone in the small group the infected person has come in contact with recently and is interviewing them about possible symptoms. However, that is putting peoples lives and health at risk.

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