Spike in number of measles cases in first 11 weeks of 2019

Spike in number of measles cases in first 11 weeks of 2019

The number of measles cases in Singapore in the first 11 weeks of this year was more than triple that of the same period last year, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said on Thursday (Mar 21). Vanessa Lim reports. 

SINGAPORE: The number of measles cases in Singapore in the first 11 weeks of this year was more than triple that of the same period last year, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said on Thursday (Mar 21).

As of Mar 17, there were 38 cases of measles recorded in Singapore, up from the 11 cases in the same period in 2018. There have been no deaths arising from the infection this year, MOH confirmed.

This year's figure is the highest number recorded in the first 11-week period of the year since 2015.

READ: Childhood vaccination will not be made compulsory: Malaysia DPM

MOH said there is currently no evidence of further spread of measles in the community, as majority of the reported cases this year were "single and sporadic local infections". 

It added that there were only five separate instances of the infection spreading to a family member or close friend.

Of the 38 people infected this year, 25 contracted the virus locally, while the others were infected in the Philippines, Vietnam, Dubai and Thailand. 

Children made up 14 of the cases. Of this, five had missed their MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella) vaccination and nine were infants who were not due for their vaccinations. 

READ: Without vaccine, hundreds of children die in Madagascar measles outbreak

Among the 24 adults, 15 were not known to have been vaccinated. The ministry said the majority of measles cases over the last five years were locally infected cases. 

"MOH will continue to monitor the situation closely. As a precautionary measure, MOH has alerted general practitioners to be on the lookout for cases of measles, particularly in patients who have recently travelled overseas or who have not been vaccinated, and to notify MOH promptly," the ministry added.

With an increase in measles cases globally, travellers have been advised to check that they have been fully vaccinated against measles when going to areas with measles outbreaks. 

Measles vaccination is compulsory for all children residing in Singapore. As of Feb 1, a new requirement was introduced for foreign-born children applying for a long-term visit pass to Singapore to have their vaccinations. 

Those aged 12 and under will have to submit documentation of their vaccinations against diphtheria and measles. 

In Ukraine, 11 people have died and more than 30,000 people have been infected this year in a major measles outbreak. 

Source: CNA/zl(mi)

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