measles

Small Pacific states brace for measles spread

As the Pacific grapples with a deadly measles outbreak originating in New Zealand, some of the region's smallest states are seeing their health systems put under increasing strain before the disease even reaches their shores.

Already, measles has spread to Fiji, Tonga and Samoa.

Health authorities in Samoa say they have registered seven deaths suspected to have been caused by the measles virus.

Now, there are fears its spread to other countries in the region could be only a matter of time.

Nationwide vaccination campaign launched

This was supported by UNICEF and the World Health Organization.

The campaign aims to vaccinate more than 1.3 million children in the age group of 6 months to 5 years with measles and rubella (MR) vaccines, and then children from birth to 5 years with oral polio vaccine (OPV).

This exercise further demonstrates Papua New Guinea’s commitment to improve health and well-being of its children by protecting them against vaccine-preventable diseases.

Measles resurgence 'due to vaccine hesitancy', WHO warns

The World Health Organization data shows a rise in cases in almost every region of the world, with 30% more cases in 2017 than 2016.

Experts say complacency, collapsing health systems and a rise in fake news about the vaccine are behind the rise.

They say the measles vaccines can save millions of lives.

Measles is a highly contagious disease that in severe cases can lead to complications such as blindness, pneumonia and infection and swelling of the brain.

Measles coverage very low in PNG: Official

Ropa says an outbreak can occur anywhere in the country.

“And it can be huge and devastating. We can have deaths and problems with our health system to cope with it,” he said.

His advice is for parents to take responsibility and bring their children to the nearest clinic for vaccination or inspection at the earliest show of measles.

“Vaccines are free and available,” he said.

He said the symptoms include fever and rash, and sometimes running nose and cough.  

Deadly measles complication is more common than thought, study says

Researchers figured this out by looking at records of people who had a neurological disease called subacute sclerosing panencephalitis, or SSPE, in California between 1998 and 2016. The research was presented at IDWeek, an infectious-disease conference, in October.

SSPE is a neurological complication from measles in which, essentially, the body has an abnormal immune response to the virus.

Washington woman killed by measles was vaccinated - health official

The woman's death was the first from measles in the U.S. in 12 years and the first in the state in 25 years.

The case wasn't related to a recent outbreak that started at Disneyland and triggered a national debate about vaccinations, according to the Washington State Department of Health. Officials said it was a different strain.

The Washington woman lacked some of the measles' common symptoms, such as a rash, so the infection wasn't discovered until an autopsy, department spokesman Donn Moyer said Thursday.

Washington woman's measles death is first in US since 2003

The woman lacked some of the measles' common symptoms, such as a rash, so the infection was not discovered until an autopsy, Washington State Department of Health spokesman Donn Moyer said.

This is the 11th case of measles in Washington — and the sixth in Clallam County — this year, Moyer said.

Measles is highly contagious and spreads when an infected person breathes, coughs or sneezes. However, dying from it is extremely rare, Moyer said.