New Zealand Faces Measles Outbreak

Jefferson County reporting first case of measles

Jefferson County reporting first case of measles

Doctors are treating unimmunised New Zealanders in carparks and outdoor areas in an attempt to reduce the spread of measles, as the number of confirmed cases of the contagious disease rose to 25.

"The number of confirmed likely to rise further over the coming days and weeks", Canterbury's District Health Board said.

"Unimmunized people who come within two meters of an infectious person, however briefly, have a 90 percent chance of contracting measles", the board said.

The Jefferson County Health Department began investigating a case of measles on Friday.

While on February 14, World Health Organization also warned that at least 922 children and young adults have died of measles in Madagascar since October, despite a huge emergency vaccination program.

"It's not the low rates of vaccination, it's the fact that measles is such a contagious virus - it's the most contagious virus known to human-kind".

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It said the best protection from the disease was for people to have two doses (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccinations. As of the early 2000's, Measles was thought to have been eradicated from the United States, but in recent years as people are less concerned about the disease some people are opting out of the vaccine, which leads to pockets of the country where the disease can re-appear and spread rapidly.

Health officials say if you got the measles vaccine when you were a child it should be effective for your whole life unless you are exposed to those who have measles and then you may need a booster shot. In addition, there is a one to two month lag time in reporting.

Canterbury medical officer of health, Cheryl Brunton, said of the additional vaccination supplies that have been requested, none are destined for South Canterbury.

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

Health officials say at no point has there been a shortage of measles vaccine in Vancouver, and people should still be getting immunized to prevent more cases from popping up, especially if they plan on travelling.

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