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By Brenda Sommer

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (April 30, 2002 – Pacific Daily News)---The number of suspected measles cases on island remains at 17, with four confirmed cases, according to local health officials.

"I am very encouraged no new reports have come in," said Dennis Rodriguez, director of Department of Public Health and Social Services.

"Hopefully, we have arrested this."

Three of those people have been hospitalized, Rodriguez said.

Public Health declared a state of public health emergency Friday after the agency discovered 16 suspected cases of measles.

The agency has had Public Health nurses visiting targeted areas door-to-door, assessing more than 800 residents and giving vaccinations if needed.

Rodriguez said nurses gave 101 vaccinations to people they visited during the weekend.

He has said he will not identify the targeted villages because he does not want to cause the public to panic.

The department held free clinics in Mangilao through the weekend to give the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine to children ages 1 to 6. Children under the age of one should not be given MMR shots, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention standards.

The department vaccinated 103 children at those clinics, Rodriguez said.

He said about 300 people attended the clinics, but many brought vaccination records that showed their child did not need a new MMR shot.

The last significant measles outbreak on Guam was in 1994 when the health agency confirmed 224 cases of measles. Two infants and a 22-year-old man died in that outbreak, health officials said.

For additional reports from the Pacific Daily News, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/Pacific Daily News (Guam).

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