The recent rise of confirmed cases of measles in Hong Kong has put the state of public health and infectious disease prevention in the headlines yet again. The Department of Health confirmed four more measles cases on Wednesday, bringing the total to 30 so far this year, after confirming five the day before. While the public have every reason to be concerned about the health of their family members and their own, they should follow the advice and guideline issued by health authorities instead of panicking over sensational hearsays. Vaccination is still the best way to prevent measles even if one comes in contact with a carrier of the measles virus. That is why people should seek doctor’s advice on whether they should receive vaccine shots as soon as possible.
According to government records the vaccination rate against measles in Hong Kong has been quite high over the years, which is why only those who have not received their second measles vaccine shot are considered at higher-than-normal risk of infection. And anyone who by some chance has not been vaccinated against measles at all is strongly urged to get one immediately, unless they are clinically certified as unfit for vaccination. Remember: It is never too late to be vaccinated against a known infectious disease and everyone who has not been vaccinated for some odd reason should get it now for the sake of public well-being as well as his or her own.
READ MORE: Measles scare
In reply to a lawmaker’s question Wednesday morning regarding media reports that some hospitals have run out of measles vaccine shots, Secretary for Health Sophia Chan Siu-chee said some 30,000 measles vaccine shots ordered from overseas will begin arriving in mid-April. Until then people should watch out for government announcement and make sure they won’t miss the measles shots when they become available next month. Meanwhile, the public are advised to step up personal hygiene at all times and preferably wear surgical masks when they go to the Hong Kong International Airport, where more than 20 of the confirmed measles cases were found.
It should be noted that Hong Kong is not the only affluent society experiencing a sudden rise of measles infections that require isolation in hospitals. Many Western countries, particularly the United States, are dealing with similar health crises in some communities. As a matter of fact, such outbreaks have been happening around the world every now and then for many years. And one of the common reasons is that parents refused to have their children vaccinated for fear of developing autism spectrum disorder (ASD) because of a rumor fabricated by one British doctor in the 1980s. This vicious lie may or may not have hoodwinked some Hong Kong residents into swearing off vaccination as well, the point is no one in their right mind should believe such outrageous tall tales.
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