Canterbury health authorities 'intensify' battle against measles as cases expected to rise

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Twenty-five cases have been confirmed in Canterbury and that number is likely to increase due to the highly contagious nature of the measles virus.

The DHB said under-immunised people who came within two metres of an infectious person, however briefly, had a 90 per cent chance of contracting measles.

Measles cases are on the rise globally, including in wealthy nations such as the United States and Germany, where some parents shun life-saving vaccines due to false theories suggesting links between childhood immunizations and autism.

The DHB has told medical centres in the region that extra supplies of the vaccine were being delivered, with 18,000 doses expected to be available in practices from Wednesday.

He knows that his suffering three years ago could have been avoided if he received immunization, and he is concerned about the dozens of children in Washington state where a measles outbreak began earlier this year.

With a median age of 2 years old, 56% of measles cases are under 5 years of age.

Huron County has not had a single case of measles in more than decade, according to Jessica Colvin, HCPH public information officer.

The incident is related to an out-of-state case of measles that was contracted by the recipient while traveling. The World Health Organization recently warned that anti-vaccination organizations are one of ten major global health threats this year. In addition, there is a one to two month lag time in reporting. The highly contagious disease is spread by coughing, sneezing, close personal contact or direct contact with infected nose or throat secretions.

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.

"Experts agree that between 92 percent and 95 percent of children should receive two doses of the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine to maintain herd immunity against measles", Franks said.

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