'Measles Emergency' Declared in Italy

Italian health ministry to deliver 800,000 children and health workers MMR vaccinations

Venice Italy

Italy's Health Ministry has announced a measles prevention plan that would keep obligatory vaccinations in place for children between the ages of 0-16 year-olds, reported The Local.

The announcement comes after a spike in the number of measles cases in Italy exceed 2,700 over the past year.

The vast majority (89%) of Italian measles cases in 2017 were reported among unvaccinated people, according to the ECDC. 

 A measles outbreak in the city of Bari is an example of under-vaccination people spreading this virus to others. 

This episode was a classic "expected episode" of a family/hospital measles outbreak.

The first epidemiological data reported by the Observatory of the Puglia region shows that the infection started from the same family unit, two unvaccinated brothers, followed by a cousin. The subsequent hospitalization of these subjects passed the measles virus to 4 other people: two infants, a security guard, and a 43-year-old mother.   

“There is a measles emergency,” said Vittorio Demicheli, vaccines consultant to the Ministry of Health, “and it is in this age group [<16] that the next national plan for the elimination of the disease will dedicate particular attention to.” 

Vaccines will be offered in Italian schools and universities, as well as sports clubs. 

Additionally, the Italian health ministers are discussing possible incentives for young people who choose to be vaccinated, reported The Local

Unfortunately, this vaccination plan may not launch until 2019.

During September 2018, Italy reported 44 new measles cases to the European CDC.

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This is actually good news since 68 measles cases were confirmed in August and 124 cases in July. 

Measles is a disease that can lead to serious complications, such as pneumonia, and even death. 

Measles is caused by a highly-contagious virus that is spread through the air by breathing, coughing, or sneezing. Signs and symptoms of measles include rash, high fever, and a cough, runny nose, or red, watery eyes. 

To warn visitors traveling to Italy, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a Level 1 Travel Alert in May 2018.   

This CDC Travel Alert says ‘Travelers to Italy should make sure they are vaccinated against measles with the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine. People who cannot show that they were vaccinated or are otherwise protected against measles should get vaccinated before leaving the United States.’ 

International travelers can easily request a vaccination appointment with a local pharmacy at Vax-Before-Travel.

The CDC Vaccine Price List provides the private sector vaccine prices for general information. 

And vaccine discounts can be found here. 

Vaccines, like any medicine, can have side effects. You are encouraged to report negative side effects of vaccines to the FDA or CDC.