The outbreak of the measles virus continues across EU/EEA countries, according to the latest Communicable Diseases Threats Report (CDTR).
In a report on the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control’s (ECDC) website, it says the most recent collected data through epidemic intelligence revealed the following countries have reported the highest number of measles virus cases in 2018:
- Romania (4,317)
- France (2,588)
- Greece (2,238) and
- Italy (1,716).
Since the start of the year, there have been 31 reported deaths across the region due to measles so far.
How can measles transmission be stopped?
To stop measles transmission and protect those most vulnerable to severe complications and death, especially infants, it has been advised that at least 95% of the population needs to be vaccinated with two doses of a vaccine comprising measles.
There are only four EU/EEA countries that have managed to reach the 95% target for both the first and second doses, which has shown officials that more action is needed to combat this growing issue.
About the measles virus
The measles virus is highly contagious and lives in the nose and throat mucus of an infected person. This infection can spread through sneezing and coughing, which can then remain contagious for up to two hours on an infected surface.
Early symptoms of the condition replicate those of influenza, which include:
- High fever
- Runny nose and
- Red, watery eyes.
Three to five days following the initial so called flu-like symptoms, the common red-spotted rash of measles manifests and the fever spikes. These subside within a few days.
There are a number of serious health complications with this condition, including pneumonia and encephalitis.
All six Member States of The World Health Organization (WHO) have the objective to eliminate measles globally by 2020.
The ECDC concluded in its report: “The continued circulation of measles in the region stresses the importance for people to be vaccinated with two doses, to protect themselves and their families.”