Published: Thu, March 14, 2019
Medical | By Vicki Mclaughlin

Measles in Canterbury now 'in widespread circulation' as infections rise to 25

Measles in Canterbury now 'in widespread circulation' as infections rise to 25

New Zealand's ministry of health said in a statement in late February that since 2012 all cases of measles in New Zealand came from travelers bringing the disease from overseas. Growing public outcry over those companies' inaction in response to the spread of misinformation led both Facebook and YouTube to announce concrete steps to address the problem in recent weeks.

Vaccine conspiracy theories, as well as fears of vaccines linked with autism in children, are clear to see on social media and other areas of the internet.

"If you're going somewhere where there is a current measles outbreak, such as the Philippines, we do recommend that you go get vaccinated", said Akins. Before scientists developed the vaccine, between 3 and 4 million people caught measles and 500 died from it each year in the USA, according to the agency.

Given their higher risk, our focus over the short term is to provide MMR immunizations to those under 29 years who are not fully vaccinated.

The DHB says it's highly infectious - and anyone unvaccinated who's within two metres of someone with measles has a 90 percent chance of catching it.

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"Immunisation is the only sure way to avoid getting measles", Pink said.

Children and young adults (age range 5 years to 28 years) who are either not immunised or who have only received one MMR dose to date.

The Jefferson County Health Department began investigating a case of measles on Friday. The cases have mainly been appearing among those who were born before 1969 and those who are not fully immunized.

Public Health is not providing any additional information about the two cases with one dose of MMR in order to protect the patients' privacy.

The measles outbreak in Canterbury has now infected 25 people, and the Canterbury District Health Board says the number is likely to rise in the coming days.

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