South Korea reports first imported measles case since February 2020

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The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) announced a confirmed case of measles after a Korean in his 40s boarded the same plane as a person with confirmed measles while traveling abroad.

Photo/Robert Herrmann

Previously, the Spanish government informed health officials that “on December 18, 2022, a confirmed case of measles occurred among passengers on a flight from Doha, Qatar to Barcelona, ​​Spain, and 21 Koreans were on the same flight.” 13 out of 21 have returned home (as of January 2, 2023).

The measles patient, who returned to Korea on December 29 (QR 858 from Doha → Incheon), had rash symptoms from the 31st, and as a result of a respiratory sample test, the measles infection was confirmed on January 2, 2023.

Officials report that the patient is doing well and being treated at home.

This confirmed measles case is the first imported measles case in Korea in nearly three years since February 2020.

In Korea, the measles vaccination rate for children (first MMR 97.1%, second 95.0%) is high.

To protect infants and young children from measles infection, children were required to be vaccinated at the appropriate time according to the standard measles vaccination schedule – measles/mumps/rubella vaccination x 2 – 1: 12-15 months after birth, 2nd: 4-6 years.

Meanwhile, due to the recent occurrence of measles worldwide, the risk of contracting measles is gradually increasing for travelers who have not received the preventive measles vaccine (MMR) and those with weakened immunity among travelers in affected areas.

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Therefore, because the influx of patients is likely to increase, if you plan to travel to a measles outbreak area, make sure you have two doses of the measles (MMR) vaccine before you travel.

If the second dose of vaccination has not been completed, or if it is unclear whether the vaccination has been administered, the second dose of vaccination should be completed (at least 4 weeks apart) 4-6 weeks before departure.

However, in infants 6 to 11 months of age before the standard vaccination schedule is reached (12 months after birth), one dose is given first, and additional immunizations are added at the standard vaccination schedules of 12 to 15 months and 4 to 6 months years old. Vaccination is recommended.

In addition, to prevent infection while traveling, personal hygiene such as hand washing and observing cough etiquette must be strictly observed.

If measles symptoms (incubation period 7-21 days) appear after travel (such as rash with fever), refrain from using public transportation as much as possible, reduce contact with others after wearing a mask, and contact the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (1339) and request Refer to a medical institution as instructed.

In particular, the KCDC strongly recommends that healthcare workers, such as medical personnel likely to come into contact with measles patients, receive two doses of MMR (at least 4 weeks apart) if they do not have vaccination history and antibodies for measles as directed. And the

Health care workers and staff of medical institutions are at high risk of exposure to measles during a measles epidemic and the risk of infection spreading to patients in medical institutions.

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