Thursday, 5 September 2019

Number of Measles cases reported in New Zealand passes 1000 this year.

The number of Measles cases reported in New Zealand since 1 January 2019 has passes 1000, with the number of reported cases standing at 1051 on 5 September, with 877 of those reports coming from the city of Auckland. The New Zealand Health Ministry is calling on all unvaccinated citizens and visitors to the country between the ages of 1 and 50 to get vaccinated, to prevent the spread of the disease. Measles was eradicated in New Zealand in 2016, but has since returned, and there are concerns that the disease may spread from there to smaller Pacific island nations, where populations may be more vulnerable to the disease. This in turn is thought to be related to a fall off in people being vaccinated against the disease, apparently having been put off by hoax stories circulating on the Internet, which falsely claim vaccinations cause autism and other problems, combined with the appearance of anti-vaccine 'campaigners' who run courses promoting non-vaccination (which they charge people to attend), claiming it is a parental right. Measles has also returned to a number of other countries where it was previously eradicated, including the UK, the Czech Republic, Albania, and Greece.

1-year-old, Milan Paese of Aukland, New Zealand, receiving hospital treatment for Measles, with his mother, Deyna Key, who has issued a plea for other parents to get their children vaccinated. Deyna Key/Stuff.

Measles is a Viral Disease, that presents as a fever combined with a cough and inflamed eyes, followed by the development of a rash first in the mouth and then across the body. About 30% of cases go on to develop complications, which can include diarrhoea, blindness, inflammation of the brain and pneumonia, and the disease can be fatal. Measles is a highly infectious airborne disease spread by coughing, with un-immunised people living in close proximity to infected persons having an approximately 90% chance of catching the Virus. The disease is easily prevented by vaccination, but hard to treat once people are infected, with small children, who are least likely to have been immunised, particularly vulnerable. This makes it particularly important for health workers to be alert for new cases once the disease becomes established in an area, and ensure that all potential cases are screened for the Virus promptly.

Thin-section transmission electron micrograph of a Measles Virus. Cynthia Goldsmith/William Bellini/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Public Health Image Library/Wikimedia Commons.

Measles is caused by a single-strand RNA Virus belonging to the genus Morbillivirus, which also includes the Viruses that cause Canine Distemper and Rinderpest, as well as a variety of other diseases infecting domestic and wild Mammals. The genius Morbillivirus is in turn a member of the Paramyxoviridae, a group of Viruses that infect a wide range of Mammals, Birds, Reptiles and Fish, and includes the Virus that causes Mumps in Humans.

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