WHO Philippines: Measles Outbreak, Situation Report 5, 12 March 2019 - Philippines

Vials of measles mumps and rubella vaccine

Panic is setting in over the Canterbury measles outbreak as more cases of the untreatable disease emerge.

"Measles is one of the most infectious viruses on earth, and possibly the most contagious among people".

Authorities on Monday confirmed there had been 25 cases of the disease in the Canterbury region, which includes the country's third-largest city, Christchurch. Clark County Public Health does not provide immunizations or testing for immunity.

"To maintain herd immunity, communities have to vaccinate enough residents to protect the small number of people who can not receive a vaccination for medical reasons", said Ashley Franks, Erie County Health Department epidemiologist.

"Unimmunised people who come within two metres of an infectious person, however briefly, have a 90 per cent chance of contracting measles", the health board said.

Health officials say at no point has there been a shortage of measles vaccine in Vancouver, and people should still be getting immunized to prevent more cases from popping up, especially if they plan on travelling. "We had ten states that originally had measles cases this year".

"We give a child its last dose of measles, mumps, rubella when they were 4 or 5 or 6 years old - before they enter kindergarten - and then they don't get it again, if ever, for the rest of their lives", he said.

"If one person has the disease, nine out of 10 of the people around him or her will become infected if they are not vaccinated". It might also lead to serious complications such as pneumonia and encephalitis (swelling of the brain).

Health experts are warning that for everyone in Canterbury to be protected against measles, 95 percent of people would need to be fully immunised against it. The World Health Organization recently warned that anti-vaccination organizations are one of ten major global health threats this year.

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