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Taiwan CDC issues warning as measles cases spike worldwide

Caution urged for unvaccinated young children amid global measles surge

Photo illustrative of measles. (Reuters, Andrii Biletskyi/Alamy photo)

Photo illustrative of measles. (Reuters, Andrii Biletskyi/Alamy photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwanese contemplating overseas trips are being advised against taking their young, unvaccinated children due to a significant surge in global measles cases.

The Taiwan Centers for Disease Control on Tuesday (Jan. 30) urged people not to travel with infants under 1 year old or young children who have not received the MMR vaccine. The MMR vaccine protects against measles, mumps, and rubella.

This advisory comes in the wake of an increase in measles cases globally. Europe had reported 42,605 infections in 2023, marking a 45-fold increase compared to the previous year, according to data from the World Health Organization (WHO).

Countries such as the U.K., the U.S., and nations in the western Pacific, including Malaysia and the Philippines, are witnessing a rise in measles infections. India and Indonesia are also grappling with ongoing outbreaks, said the CDC.

Despite Taiwan not reporting any local cases since September 2022, the public is urged to remain vigilant against the threat of imported cases or potential exposure during travel. Infants are especially susceptible, as the disease can lead to respiratory complications, including otitis media, pneumonia, and meningitis, with a 5-10% fatality rate in the immunocompromised, cautioned the CDC.

Taiwan residents are encouraged to seek MMR inoculations at local health centers or institutes providing vaccinations. For further inquiries, individuals can contact the hotline at 1922.