Published: Thu, March 14, 2019
Medicine | By Tracy Klein

Measles outbreak in New Zealand's Canterbury widens to 20

Measles outbreak in New Zealand's Canterbury widens to 20

New Zealand's South Island is grappling with a measles outbreak, with authorities warning the number of confirmed cases is expected to "rise further over the coming days and weeks".

With Canterbury health centers running out of vaccines since the start of the outbreak in late February, 3,000 MMR vaccines have been brought by Sunday and 18,000 more are to be delivered to the region by Wednesday.

In a statement, the Canterbury District of Health said "It can now be assumed that measles is circulating widely in our community".

The health department says they'll update the public if any new measles cases are confirmed.

New Zealand, like many other countries, is seeing a resurgence of measles, following skepticism from growing sectors of the population that the MMR vaccination can cause autism - a belief that has been thoroughly and repeatedly debunked by global health experts, including the World Health Organisation.

"Children who have not yet been immunized are at the greatest risk from the disease, so it's important to make sure you and your family are up to date with their immunizations", the minister said.

Another one or two out of 1,000 people with measles will die, even with medical treatment. "Vaccines are safe and effective and the disease we are preventing children against can be life treating to them, and adults as well".

While children in OH schools are "required" to get vaccinations, the state is one of just 17 where law allows both "philosophical" and religious exceptions, allowing parents to opt out of vaccinations for their children.

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.

Colvin said about one in four people throughout the United States who get the measles will be hospitalized and one out of every 1,000 measles patients will develop brain swelling which could lead to brain damage. California has reported at least one case since the beginning of the year.

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