Beware of outbreakTwo more people have been diagnosed with measles in Korea, bringing the total to 40 as of Sunday. One had caught the virus from Southeast Asia and another from sharing the same hospital room as a patient with the virus. The illness has affected 17 people in North Gyeongsang, 12 people in Ansan, Gyeonggi, four people in Seoul and one person in satellite cities around the capital and in South Jeolla.
Although the outbreak is concentrated in Daegu and Ansan, the capital area is also unsafe. The Korea Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (KCDC) believes the spread has been caused by travelers from Southeast Asia and Europe.
Half of the patients are in their 20s. A vaccination for MMR — Measles, Mumps and Rubella — is given 12 to 15 months after birth. About a quarter of young people in their 20s and 30s do not have antibodies for measles. Beginning in 1997, people were required to have a second vaccine between the ages of four to six. Those aged 23 or older who have not had the second vaccine are advised to get a shot. It must be required for young people planning overseas trips.
The disease could spread during next week’s Lunar New Year holiday, a period of mass transport and travel. Chicken pox has also jumped by 10 percent in Gyeonggi. Citizens must take extra care of their hygiene and immediately go to a clinic or a hospital if they show any symptoms.
Seniors are advised to immunize themselves against the flu. The central and local governments must be vigilant to prevent the spread of infection at medical facilities during the holiday period.
JoongAng Ilbo, Jan. 28, Page 30