Measles sparks extreme measure

In a drastic measure aimed at limiting further spread of measles in the local community, authorities in the county of Rockland, NY State, declared a state of emergency: ‘Effective at the stroke of midnight, Wednesday, March 27, anyone who is under 18 years of age and unvaccinated against the measles will be barred from public places until this declaration expires in 30 days or until they receive the MMR vaccination’. According to the health dept., as of Apr 2, 158 measles infections had been recorded, over 82 percent of which were in unvaccinated individuals. Across the US, there have been more measles cases in the first three months of the year than in the full 12 months last year. CDC updates on the six ongoing measles outbreaks in the US can be found here. Elsewhere, separate updates on measles are available for Switzerland, Lithuania, Israel, Ukraine, Macau, New Zealand (Canterbury & Auckland), Canada and the African continent. And health authorities in Hong Kong have advised that the second routine MMR vaccine which has been given to children at six years of age is to be administered at 18 months starting next year. This forms part of the response to the recent spike in cases, with vaccinations continuing at the international airport after more cases were identified there during the past week. Read more

Advice for travellers

A highly contagious virus, measles occurs in developing and developed countries. While generally benign, infection can result in severe illness or death. Travelvax Australia recommends travellers check their immunisation status for measles and other childhood diseases such as diphtheria, whooping cough (pertussis) and mumps 6 weeks before departure.

Before you travel, call Travelvax Australia’s telephone advisory service on 1300 360 164 (toll-free from landlines) for country-specific advice and information. You can also make an appointment at your nearest Travelvax clinic to obtain vaccinations, medication to prevent or treat illness, and accessories for your journey.