New measles cases confirmed on Maui, Kauai

Three new cases of measles have been confirmed by the state Department of Health.

One case is on Maui and two on Kauai, and none are related, with separate travel histories. But each involves unvaccinated young adults with recent travel either to the Philippines or Indonesia and Malaysia, the health department said in a press release.

 “Measles is highly contagious, spreading through the air by breathing, coughing or sneezing, and infecting 90 percent of the contacts who are not immune” said Dr. Sarah Y. Park, state epidemiologist. “Measles outbreaks continue to occur both internationally and on the mainland, especially in areas where vaccination is declining. As travel increases during the holiday season, so does our chance of seeing more cases.”

Since January, there have been 594 cases of measles reported in 22 states according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), including two cases in Hawaii reported earlier this year in February. With the additional recently confirmed cases, Hawaii now has a total of five confirmed cases reported in the state this year, the state said.

Symptoms of measles include blotchy red rash, fever, cough, runny nose, red, watery eyes (conjunctivitis), feeling run down, achy (malaise), tiny white spots with bluish-white centers found inside the mouth. Anyone with symptoms should consult a doctor immediately.

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