NZ measles outbreak continues to spread

Modesto Morganelli
Marzo 14, 2019

A nationwide Measles outbreak continues to raise concern for health officials.

The number of new measles cases in the first two months of this year already surpasses the entire annual totals of all but three years since the disease was declared eliminated in 2000.

Canterbury Primary Response Group coordinator Dr Phil Schroeder told Kate Hawkesby Canterbury has high levels of vaccinated people.

Reynolds says the reason we are seeing a measles outbreak is because people have stopped vaccinating their children in fear of autism.

"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".

This has prompted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to issue a travel notice recently.

Even though the vaccine is highly effective, globally around 110,000 people died from measles in 2017, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

"Without urgent efforts to increase vaccination coverage and identify populations with unacceptable levels of under-, or unimmunized children, we risk losing decades of progress in protecting children and communities against this devastating, but entirely preventable disease".

Here, Art Reingold, professor and division head of epidemiology at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Public Health, talks about measles, vaccine safety, and the importance of immunizing kids.

Measles can pack a serious punch, landing as many as one in four infected people in the hospital and killing one in 1,000.

Washington is one of the states that allows parents to opt out of giving their children vaccines because of "personal beliefs". It took some time for health researchers to discover this, so countries like New Zealand that were early to introduce the vaccines are more likely to have cohorts of older people that are not completely protected. It's possible - but very unlikely - for a person to contract the virus after they've been vaccinated, according to the Mayo Clinic.

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