Measles vaccination crucial

Doctor disinfects skin of patient before vaccination

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a travel notice for Kazakhstan, where health officials have reported a measles outbreak.

The CDC has warned that travellers should ensure they are vaccinated against measles with the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine (MMR). Two doses of this vaccine are nearly 100-per-cent effective at preventing measles.

Meanwhile, the ongoing measles outbreak in Washington, US, has reached the highest number of infections since 1996, according to an official. There have been 38 confirmed and 13 suspected cases so far. In addition, two people fell ill in Hawaii, having travelled from Washington, where they were infected. In Georgia, the Department of Health has confirmed that three members of the same family had contracted the disease. These people were not vaccinated, and the Georgia Department of Public Health recently announced that they are now out of the infectious state of the disease. There has been no connection made between the outbreak in Washington and the three cases in Georgia. A further case has been confirmed in Multnomah County in Oregon, which has been connected to the outbreak in Washington.

The contagious virus spreads through the air via coughing and sneezing and will kill one or two out of every 1,000 children who contract it. A common thread in the US outbreak is that, in the majority of confirmed cases, the individuals were unvaccinated, which brings home the importance of vaccination.