Thu, Feb 19, 2009 - Page 2 News List

CDC warns of measles threat, source in China

CHILDREN NEED THE SHOTOutbreaks of the disease have been on the rise in China over the past three years, which puts the health of unvaccinated children at risk

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) yesterday reminded people planning to travel to China with children to ensure their young ones receive a measles immunization prior to departure, following recent reports of measles infections traceable to China.

The most recent case involved a five-year-old boy from northern Taiwan who came down with a fever and rash early this month soon after returning from a trip to the south during the Lunar New Year holiday, centers Deputy Director-General Chou Jih-haw (周志浩) said.

An investigation found the boy had been hospitalized for other ailments for four days during his stay in the south and shared a room with an 11-month-old girl who was infected with measles. He contracted the measles virus from the girl, Chou said.

The girl, whose mother is a Chinese citizen, fell ill soon after returning from a trip to China last month. She had not received the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, Chou said.

The boy, whose mother is also a Chinese citizen, had also never received the MMR vaccine, although he was given one dose of the measles vaccine in China when he was nine months old, Chou said.

The case followed another reported late last year, in which a cluster of seven measles infections was traced to a 20-month-old boy from Kaohsiung who contracted the disease in China, he said.

Adding that the number of measles cases reported in China has been on the rise over the past three years, Chou urged parents not to take children who have not received the MMR vaccine to China.

In Taiwan, children are normally given a first dose of the MMR vaccine when they are between 12 and 15 months old and a booster shot during their first year of elementary school.

In light of the high virulence of the measles virus, the CDC advised parents not to skip the MMR inoculation for their children, including those who have received the measles vaccine before reaching one year old.

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