On May 18, 2105, the Taiwan Centers for Disease Control (Taiwan CDC) confirmed measles infection in contacts of this year’s second indigenous case. They respectively are a 24-year-old female, a 26-year-old female and a 25-year-old male.
Just three days prior, the CDC announced this year’s second confirmed indigenous case of measles in Taiwan (the index case) in a 25-year-old female white-collar worker.
The index case and the three new cases all worked at the same place. In addition, the dates of their symptom onset were close and none of them had traveled overseas. Therefore, it was determined that they might have all acquired measles from the same source.
The four cases worked at the same duty free shop and they were in frequent contact with foreign travelers. As a result, it is suspected that their original source of infection was the foreign traveler. Taiwan CDC has urged all the workers at the shop to get vaccinated against measles to prevent further spread of the disease. Moreover, the health authorities has implemented a number of prevention measures and identified 1,223 contacts of these four cases, including their family members, coworkers, healthcare personnel and patients that they came into contact with when they sought medical attention, to monitor and follow up until June 3. Thus far, none of the contacts had developed any symptoms.
The first local transmission of measles was reported by the CDC on May 5 in a 42-year-old female who resides in northern Taiwan.
In addition to the 5 indigenous cases in Taiwan this year, one imported case from China has also been reported.
Taiwan CDC reminds that measles is a highly infectious respiratory disease that is spread by contact with droplets from the nose, mouth or throat of an infected person, either directly or through aerosol transmission. An infected person remains infectious 4 days before and after the development of rash. Physicians are urged to remain vigilant for suspected cases. If symptoms such as fever, rhinitis, conjunctivitis, and rash develop, please seek immediate medical attention and to reduce further transmission and voluntarily inform the physician of relevant travel and exposure history.
The transmission of measles is further facilitated by ever increasing international exchange and travel, especially among populations that are not vaccinated against the disease. The best way to prevent measles is vaccination. In Taiwan, the existing routine childhood vaccination schedule recommends a dose of MMR vaccine to children 12 months of age and another dose to first graders in elementary schools. Unvaccinated infants and children, those who do not receive vaccine in a timely manner and those who have never been infected with measles are high-risk groups. Parents are urged to ensure timely vaccination of children under one year old and those who have not completed the MMR vaccine series and avoid bringing unvaccinated children to the affected areas in order to prevent infection.