Despite various efforts from the medical community, measles continues to be a problem all around the world. There are several explanations for this- from fewer people wanting to vaccinate to some being unable to vaccinate for reasons beyond their control. The consequences of measles can be potentially deadly to those infected with this horrible disease. While children are typically the ones who contract measles, that can also happen to other people.
Over in New Zealand, five pregnant women have been hospitalized and two more have experienced miscarriages due to an ongoing measles outbreak. All of the mothers in question live in Auckland and the two who lost their babies were both in their second trimester. The deaths of the two unborn babies have been described "as serious complications potentially related to maternal measles" by New Zealand health officials. Fortunately, none of the mothers have died due to contracting measles.
In a press release, Karen Bartholomew of the Auckland District Health Board said, "These are very sad events for these two women and their families. We do know that measles can cause pregnancy complications including miscarriage and pre-term birth."
Pregnant women aren't more likely to contract measles when compared to anyone else. However, not being vaccinated can make you more likely to suffer a miscarriage, premature labour, or your newborn baby having a low birth weight. With measles having returned to New Zealand with its largest outbreak in 20 years after having been considered eliminated back in 2017, there are concerns of quelling it. That's especially true in the aforementioned city of Auckland, where 1329 out of 1604 confirmed cases have come from.
In response to this ongoing measles outbreak, the New Zealand government has set up a national response center to address this massive problem. There have also been multiple new outreach centers opened up to offer free vaccinations to those who need it- especially those who are most likely to contract measles. This includes pregnant women, babies, and young children. New Zealanders have been pushing for the government to pass legislation to make vaccinations mandatory. Whether that is successful remains to be seen right now.
Health officials continue to hope that the peak of the outbreak has finally been reached. That way, measles cases will hopefully drop with time. Whether this proves to be true or not is unclear. We just hope that for the sake of New Zealanders everywhere, this measles outbreak ends sooner than later with no deaths reported.