4 more measles patients diagnosed

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4 more measles patients diagnosed

Korea’s measles outbreak is picking up speed, as four new patients were diagnosed Wednesday, bringing the total number of cases to 35.

Three of the patients are believed to have caught the virus overseas, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (KCDC).

Of the three that contracted the disease while travelling, two reside in Seoul while one currently lives in Gyeonggi. Two patients showed symptoms after coming back from Vietnam and the other was diagnosed after returning from Taiwan. The other patient is believed to have contracted the disease while caring for another measles patient in Korea.

In response to the possibility of measles spreading in Seoul and cities in Gyeonggi, the KCDC stressed the importance of travelers to check whether they have a measles vaccine before traveling to areas where they risk contracting the disease.

The KCDC underscored that young adults were possibly susceptible to measles, as most have not received a second vaccination that would inoculate them against the disease.

“If you do not have any recollection of getting the second vaccination shot, then you should probably visit a nearby hospital to check and see,” said an official from the KCDC. The KCDC reported Wednesday that a total of 131,245 vaccination shots were issued from Jan. 1 through Jan. 22 in response to the spread of the disease.

The official reassured the public that, “early next week an additional 15,000 doses will be distributed” to hospitals. However, the official added that there could be a temporary shortage of shots.

The Ministry of Health and Welfare is surveying around 500 people who were in contact with the measles patients, and it hopes to contain the spread of the disease before the Seollal, or Lunar New Year, holiday in early February. If any of those in contact with the measles patients show symptoms, they will be restricted from travelling outside their homes.

BY JEONG JU-WON [jeong.juwon@joongang.co.kr]

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