Measles Outbreak Continues to Spread

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Sarah Peddie

The measles outbreak continues in New Zealand as two unborn babies died after their mothers contracted the disease.

Five pregnant women have been hospitalised and two unborn babies died after complications due to a measles outbreak that is sweeping the nation.

The mothers were both from Auckland and had caught the measles which led to fetal losses.

Pregnant women are more likely to catch measles more than anyone. If they are not vaccinated against the disease then it can lead to complications with the birth and are at a higher risk of having a miscarriage.

Measles is preventable and is 97% effective if a person has been vaccinated with two doses.

New Zealand had completely eliminated the disease back in 2017. However, it is back bigger as this is the worst outbreak the country has seen in 20 years.

The majority of cases are concentrated in the Auckland region. Of the 1,600 cases nationwide, over 1,300 were in Auckland.

Many young children are at risk of catching the viral illness as well. Babies under six months are extremely vulnerable as they are too young to be vaccinated.

The Government has set up a national response centre to help try and combat the outbreak. They have also set up new outreach centres that offer free vaccinations.

Vaccinations are not mandatory in New Zealand unlike in places like France and Italy. As the outbreak spreads, there have been calls for legislation to be put in place. 

However, health officials are hopeful that the outbreak has peaked and that cases may be dropping soon. 

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