New Zealand measles outbreak rises above 1,000 cases
September 5, 2019 5:03 pm
New Zealand’s ongoing measles outbreak has hit the milestone of more than 1,000 confirmed cases.
A total of 1,051 people were affected between 1 January and 5 September, 2019, the ministry of health said.
Measles is a highly contagious and potentially fatal illness that causes coughing, rashes and fever.
Although effective and safe vaccination is available, some developed countries have seen a measles resurgence in past years.
Worldwide, the number of cases has quadrupled in the first three months of 2019 compared with the same time last year, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
The New Zealand outbreak is largely concentrated around the country’s biggest city Auckland, with 877 of the confirmed cases seen there.
The Health Ministry has issued a statement calling for everyone aged 12 months to 50 years old to get vaccinated if they have not been already.
Immunisation Advisory Centre director Dr Nikki Turner told New Zealand’s Newshub it is a “very sad” milestone to reach.
“This was entirely predictable and preventable, so it is very disappointing for us.”
Authorities are urging anyone who feels sick to “stay away from work, school or public places, to prevent putting other people at risk”.
The ministry has also put out a travel advice to get vaccinated at least two weeks before visiting Auckland.
The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention has issued advice to get measles vaccination before visiting New Zealand.