April 3, 2008

SOMEONE TELL JOHN MCCAIN:

A measles outbreak in and around the Austrian city of Salzburg has spread to about 180 people, most of them schoolchildren, authorities said Thursday. . . .

Hubert Hrabcik, director general of public health in Austria’s Health Ministry, said the vaccination rate for measles, mumps and rubella, which are administered together, may have been “almost nil” at the school. . . . Five people between the ages of 16 and 30 have been hospitalized but all are on their way to recovery and one was released Thursday, Salzburg’s Federal Medical Center said.

Once a scourge of children in Europe, measles spreads very easily, jumping from person to person through droplets emitted in sneezing or coughing. It is one of the most contagious diseases known, according to the World Health Organization.

An estimated 242,000 people, the majority of them children, died from measles in 2006, the latest year for which figures are available, the WHO says.

Don’t get your public-health advice from Don Imus.

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