Gov’t advises measles vaccine ahead of holidays

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Gov’t advises measles vaccine ahead of holidays

With the Lunar New Year holidays just a week away, Korea’s health authority on Tuesday warned residents planning vacations abroad to get vaccination for the measles.

The warning comes as the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a government agency under the Ministry of Health and Welfare, announced the same day that 96 percent of patients who caught the disease last year in Korea were infected in another country or after coming into contact with someone who had picked it up while overseas.

Of 442 measles patients last year, 21 contracted the disease while abroad and served as agents of transmission after returning to Korea.

Eleven of the 21 patients were infected in the Philippines, while five others caught it in China, four in Vietnam and one in Singapore.

The confirmed number of measles cases last year was more than four times higher than the 107 cases in 2013 - a peak health officials say was triggered by infected residents who came into contact with young children or college students, who normally socialize in large groups.

Stressing that the chance of becoming infected with measles after coming into contact with the virus is 90 percent without a prior vaccination, health officials urged nationals to obtain two measles, mumps and rubella inoculations.

A person’s internal defenses against the measles normally builds up about two weeks after receiving the vaccination, the Health Ministry said.

Additional information concerning international travel conditions can be found in Korean at travelinfo.cdc.go.kr.

BY LEE SUNG-EUN [selee@joongang.co.kr]




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