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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Friday, June 8, 2001

Measles alert issued for Kaua'i

By Jan TenBruggencate
Advertiser Kaua‘i Bureau

L?HU'E, Kaua'i — The state Department of Health has issued a measles alert for the island of Kaua'i.

A 16-year-old has been hospitalized with the disease and more cases may occur, the department said yesterday.

The boy was not immunized and recently returned from Europe, where he is believed to have contracted the disease.

The department will hold a free measles shot clinic from 3 to 6 p.m. today at the Kilauea Neighborhood Center. People who have already had two measles shots do not need additional vaccinations.

Those coming to the clinic should bring their vaccination records or check with their doctors to determine whether they have already had measles shots. Children under 18 should come with a parent.

While many people in Hawai'i may be vaccinated, some are not, and those residents are at increased risk. Unvaccinated persons of any age may get measles.

"This should never happen. It's completely preventable" with two measles vaccinations, said Dr. Ron Metler of the Kaua'i District Health Office.

The disease spreads readily and direct contact is not necessary. In addition to the characteristic rash, measles sufferers can have high fever, runny nose and cough.

"Measles can lead to middle ear infections, pneumonia and other serious complications. One to three of every 1,000 cases of measles reported in the United States dies of the disease," the department said in its notice.

Children are normally vaccinated for measles along with mumps and rubella.

Vaccinations have been offered since 1956, and anyone born after that date should have received two shots, Metler said. Those born before that are assumed to have been exposed to the disease.

"This is a serious disease. That's why we're responding like this," Metler said.

For information about measles, click on the measles box at this Web site: www.state.hi.us/doh/resource/comm_dis/factsheet.html.