By NewsDesk @infectiousdiseasenews
New Zealand health officials reported an additional 159 confirmed measles cases the week ending Aug. 30, bringing the country total for 2019 to 938.
The bulk of the cases have been reported in the Auckland area–Waitemata (139), Auckland (100) and Counties Manukau (540).
328 patients required hospitalization for their illness.
496 cases were unvaccinated or undervaccinated, while 389 had an unknown vaccination status.
At Starship Hospital in Auckland, four children are seriously unwell with measles – one is critical.
“The fatality rate is about one in a thousand but that doesn’t mean you have to reach a thousand before someone dies,” Auckland medical officer of health Dr William Rainger said. “Someone could die at any time – it just means the more numbers, the more likely it is that there will be a fatality.”
Associate Health Minister, Julie Anne Genter said she was particularly concerned with the outbreak in South Auckland, which is the worst affected area.
Extra nurse vaccinators have been deployed to malls, schools and churches in the region, as well as Middlemore Hospital’s Emergency Department and the Pediatric ward.
“We want to reduce the barriers to people getting vaccinated, that means having vaccinations available at the hospital, doctor’s office, but also community places like churches and malls,” Ms Genter said.
She said there would be about five additional nurse vaccinators, costing the government $285,000.
Vaccination is free for anyone under the age of 50 who has not received two documented doses.
Despite the large outbreak in the country, particularly in Auckland, anti-vaccine groups are still spreading their dangerous message.