Health - Measles Jump From NZ To Perth
Health officials in Western Australia say there are now eight confirmed cases of Measles in the southern suburbs of Perth around Rockingham, and it's linked to a larger outbreak causing even more trouble.
The WA Health Department believe the rubeola virus got to Perth with a visitor from New Zealand, which has had 1,307 confirmed cases so far this year. In Perth, state doctors added three more confirmed cases on Tuesday after announcing five infections Monday.
The patients include a baby under the age of 12 months old who was too young to be vaccinated. The rest are teenagers and adults aged in their 20s through their 40s.
One official says it is "unprecedented" to have so many cases pop up in one place in a single weekend.
"Measles is really infectious, it's the most infectious disease known to humans," said Dr. Paul Effler, the WA Heath Department's communicable disease control directorate medical coordinator. "So if you go into a space where there was an infectious measles case 30 minutes before, you're likely to get it if you're not protected through vaccination."
The visitor to Perth is believed to have returned to New Zealand, where the news turned grim. Auckland health officials say two pregnant women with measles have lost their babies. Pregnant women were at no greater risk than the rest of the population when it came to catching measles, but the disease can cause other problems during pregnancy such as early labor, miscarriage, and low birthweight.
Overall, the NZ outbreak has been difficult. There have been three cases of the serious brain disease encephalitis and a much higher rate of hospitalization than previous outbreaks. About half of those hospitalized were under the age of five.