Waikato Measles Cases Soar to 100; Demand for Measles Vaccine Skyrocket

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By Smitha Nambiar | July 3, 2014 4:57 PM EST

People becoming affected by measles have reached an alarming 100 in the Waikato area of New Zealand. This, in turn, has led to a huge demand for measles vaccine in the Waikato and Auckland regions.

The situation in Waikato worsened after 100 cases of measles were confirmed. Schools in Waikato have cancelled sports events, discos and all other activities in the wake of the outbreak. Likewise, there has been 40 per cent increase in the demand for measles vaccine since the health officials sent out a fresh warning over immunisation.

Dr Anita Bell, Waikato DHB medical officer of health, said that while 80 per cent of individuals affected were between 10 and 20 years of age, the remaining ones are below 10 and close to being confirmed cases for measles since they were not vaccinated. "Seven cases have been hospitalized but are now well," added Bell. "We hope the message is getting out to other towns, not just Waikato. The best thing to do is to try and get as many people fully immunized, said Bell.

Taking a closer look at the way the disease has been spreading, it's believed that nearly one quarter of people suffering from measles have somebody in the house already infected. Though four cases had received two doses of the Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine and another four had received one dose of MMR, they could not escape the disease that is now creating havoc in Waikato and slowly spreading across the nation.

Stressing on the need to immunise, Medicines New Zealand General Manager, Kevin Sheehy said, "We are inclined to forget how devastating these diseases used to be for past generations who didn't have the benefit of vaccines."

The schools that have the quarantine management in place include Frankton Primary, Maeroa Intermediate and Hamilton Boys' High.

Measles, also known as morbilli, English measles, or rubeola is an extremely infectious viral disease that affects the skin, respiratory and immune system. The disease can affect children as well as adults and can even cause death or disability. Measles spread from one person to another through air by coughing, breathing or sneezing.

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