Beastly rash could spoil summer fun

PUBLISHED : Friday, 01 August, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 01 August, 1997, 12:00am

It is a fine Saturday morning when you wake, kicking the cat off the bed . . . the beach, the pool and the soccer pitch beckon.

You scratch your belly and contemplate the luxury of a book- free day - then the horror dawns! The rash covering most of your body is measles and this means the weekend is in ruins. Fever, confinement and an annoying itch have become your torture rack.

But there is no reason for children to suffer measles, or so says the Department of Health.

Wary of a massive measles epidemic this year, the department is pushing its vaccination programme harder than ever.

On the campaign's first day, more than 13,300 young people received shots at outpatient clinics and child and student health centres.

And more than 290,000 appointment disks were distributed in the two weeks beforehand.

It is the biggest pre-emptive strike on the childhood disease in Hong Kong's history, says Director of Health Dr Margaret Chan Fung Fu-chun.

An estimated 1.2 million people have to be inoculated to prevent an enormous rash of measles cases.

But success would depend on community support, although the response so far had been encouraging, Dr Chan said.

The Health Department is calling on those aged 12 to 19 who have not received a measles vaccination before, or who have only received one dose of the vaccine, to be vaccinated between now and September 6.

Inquiries should be directed to the special measles hotline on 2833 0111.