Romania and Ukraine Remain the Unfortunate Measles Leaders in Europe
The 2018 measles outbreak in the European region continues its negative trend established in 2017, which quadrupled the number of cases from 2016.
So far in 2018, Romania (1,709) and Ukraine (9,091) continue to report an excessive number of cases and related deaths.
For Romania, this count excludes an estimated 2,200 cases which have not yet been reported, according to the Romanian National Institute of Public Health (INSP).
Separately, in Ukraine, 7 deaths from measles have been reported during 2018.
But, Ukraine is taking immediate action to improve its substandard immunization rate.
Ukraine is accelerating its vaccination program with a second 2018 order of 800,000 doses of the measles vaccine.
EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Dr. Vytenis Andriukaitis said: "This demonstrates that vaccine-preventable infectious diseases do not respect borders and one country's immunization weakness puts the whole Union at risk."
To better understand this negative trend, Dr. Emmanuel Robesyn of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said they analyzed data from 7,365 measles cases from January 2013 through December 2017.
This ECDC’s analysis showed that 1 in 1,000 measles patients died, and of those, the greatest fatality was seen in the youngest cases, such as:
- Cases in 1 year-olds were 6 times more likely to die compared with cases of patients who were two years old or older, and
- Cases in infants younger than 1 year were 7 times more likely to die.
- And, the vast majority (81%) of measles cases in Europe were reported in unvaccinated patients.
This study also noted that 33 percent of the patients were hospitalized and 11 percent had pneumonia.
ECDC Director, Dr. Andrea Ammon said: “It is essential that teenagers and young adults check their vaccination status as we are seeing a recurring pattern in measles outbreaks where they are being affected”.
She continued, “Countries may need to consider catch up campaigns to close vaccination gaps in teenagers and young adults”.
These CDC alerts mean Americans traveling to these countries should speak with a healthcare provider regarding their measles immunization status, before departing on a trip.
In the USA, two approved measles vaccines are available, MMR-II and ProQuad.
International travelers can request a vaccine appointment with a pharmacy at this link.
Vaccines, like any medicine, can have side effects, says the CDC. You are encouraged to report negative side effects of vaccines to the FDA or CDC.
- Measles vaccination gaps in teenagers and young adults highlighted in ECDC’s report
- Measles remain a serious threat for babies and toddlers as well as unvaccinated teenagers and young adults, ECDC study shows
- Another 800,000 doses of measles vaccine arrived in Ukraine
- Operational data on measles: MOH calls for vaccination
- Monthly measles and rubella monitoring report, April 2018
- Measles and rubella surveillance - 2017
- Measles vaccination gaps in teenagers and young adults highlighted in ECDC's report