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Thursday, April 15, 2004


Atypical Measles

The MOH is presently conducting its KICK(Kempen Immunisasi Campak Kebangsaan) which is a campaign to give a booster dose of measles vaccine to those who are in the 7 to 15 years age group.
Due to the poor publicity given prior to the initiation of the campaign there has been much negative response from the public and some NGOs, particularly the Consumer Association of Penang[CAP]. Parents have questioned why their children needed a booster dose when they have already been immunised before. CAP has raised the possiblity of the development of atypical measles in those vaccinated. This has further caused confusion to parents.
The MOH has refuted the claims by CAP that immunization against measles will lead to a more serious form of the disease known as atypical measles. Bernama has reported the MINIster as saying that CAP's claims were unfounded because there was no such medical term. "On a large scale like this, there are bound to be reactions to the inoculation but these reactions cannot be termed as atypical measles which does not exist," he said.
For the MINIster's information there is a syndrome called atypical measles syndrome. This syndrome occurs if a person were given the old killed-virus measles vaccine (which does not provide complete immunity and is no longer in use); or the person were given attenuated (weakened) live measles vaccine that was, by accident, inactivated during improper storage. Immunization with inactivated measles virus does not protect against the measles virus infection. When such an individual, who does not develop immunity, but is instead sensitised to measles, is subsequently infected by the wild form of the measles virus, atypical measles syndrome can develop in this individual. With the killed vaccine no longer in use and the proper handling and storage of the attenuated live vaccine, atypical measles syndrome should not occur these days.
KICK is another example of how the government goes around hastily, shoving things down the public throats. More dissemination of info regarding KICK, the need and goodness of the programme, the possible side effects, to the public would have lead to its better acceptance and less worry on the part of the public. When will the government learn?


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