Jefferson County residents concerned over report of measles

Jefferson County residents concerned over report of measles

Canterbury District Health Board has reported 25 confirmed cases of the highly infectious disease - and the number is likely to rise.

Measles is a disease that can lead to serious complications, such as pneumonia (infection of the lungs), and even death. People are infectious from five days before the onset of the rash until five days after the rash appears.

The measles immunization rate for OH children ages 4 to 6 - children who have received the recommended two doses of MMR vaccine - is 92 percent, according to the Erie County Health Department statistics.

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

"To maintain herd immunity, communities have to vaccinate enough residents to protect the small number of people who can not receive a vaccination for medical reasons", said Ashley Franks, Erie County Health Department epidemiologist. In Clark County, WA, at least 50 cases of measles - 47 of those were not vaccinated.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention declared measles eliminated in the United States in 2000, thanks to widespread use of the Measles, Mumps and Rubella vaccine.

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.

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The four-year-old MMR can be brought forward to no sooner than four weeks after the previous MMR.

To combat the outbreak, around 3000 and a further 18000 doses of measles vaccine have been sent to Canterbury this week.

While the vaccine is considered highly effective, Kiwis in their late teens and early 20s are considered most at risk of contracting the disease because of low update of standard scheduled vaccinations by those in their age bracket.

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

For every 1,000 children who get measles, one or two will die.

People who think they might have been exposed to measles or have symptoms are asked to contact their general practice first.

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