Measles Outbreak spurs vaccinations
A new outbreak of measles has prompted health officials to issue travel vaccination warnings to those leaving the country. One-hundred and eighty-three cases of measles have been reported in the last year with Victoria and New South Wales documenting the highest cases.
Australians between the ages of 20 and 53 are urged to consider getting their second dose if necessary. Although measles vaccinations are administered in two doses, reasons remain unclear as to why many of those born after 1966 received only of these, placing them at high risk. Those who cannot determine whether they received the second essential shot are being advised to get theirs before commencing any travelling.
Measles is a highly contagious, serious respiratory disease that is easy to dismiss as an ordinary illness. Symptoms include a few days of fever, cough, runny nose, conjunctivitis and lethargy followed by the tell-tale rash. Although it is typically cured by rest, fluids, and fever medication, the lasting effect of the disease is cause for concern, affecting your immune system for up to 3 years after recovery.
Health authorities are urging people to inform themselves as much as they can about the disease and take the relevant actions. Those not fully immunised can contract measles from merely being in the same room with a carrier, making hospital waiting rooms a possible hazard.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 110,000 children die from the disease every year. Measles can also leave some highly damaging complications, including brain damage, mumps and pneumonia. Although it can only be contracted once in a lifetime, the disease can leave lasting harm, especially on children.
Children in Australia are given their vaccinations at 12 and 18 months respectively, however according to a report from the Daily Telegraph, Professor David Durrheim of the University of Newcastle states that if necessary, children as young as 6 months old who needed to travel could safely receive the vaccine.
Most of the measles cases being reported are from people who had travelled overseas. Officials continue to build awareness on the importance of travel vaccinations as new reports of the outbreak come in from New Zealand, Europe, and the United States.
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