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As of July 27, Kazakhstan health officials have reported 2,694 confirmed measles cases, of which, 40 percent have been reported in the city of Almaty. No deaths have been reported.

Image/Robert Herriman

Over 80% of the cases fall are reported in children under 18 years old, and more than  70% of them are unvaccinated. 60% of them refused measles vaccination, according to the Vice Minister of Healthcare, chief sanitary doctor Aizhan Yesmaganbetova.

In 2022, Kazakhstan reported 10 cases total during the year.

Measles is caused by a highly contagious virus that spreads through the air by direct contact with infectious droplets or by airborne spread when an infected person breathes, coughs, or sneezes. The measles virus can live for up to two hours in an airspace after an infected person leaves an area.

People can spread measles up to four days before and four days after a rash.

Signs and symptoms of measles include maculopapular rash, high fever, and a cough, runny nose, or red, watery eyes.

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Measles can be severe in all age groups and can lead to serious complications, such as pneumonia (infection of the lungs) and death. Several groups are more likely to suffer from measles complications, including children younger than five years of age, adults older than 20 years of age, pregnant women, and people with compromised immune systems, such as from leukemia or HIV infection. Common complications are ear infections and diarrhea. Serious complications include pneumonia and encephalitis (infection of the brain).