According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), the highest number of measles cases to date in 2018 are in Romania, France, Greece and Italy respectively. Over 20 deaths from measles have been reported by these countries in 2018.
ECDC Director Andrea Ammon says,
“Measles outbreaks are still occurring in a number of EU countries. This fact makes it more important than ever for people to get vaccinated with two doses of a measles-containing vaccine to protect themselves and their families before the holiday season.”
What is measles?
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease, transmitted via droplets from the nose, mouth or throat of infected persons. Initial symptoms, which usually appear 10–12 days after infection, include high fever, a runny nose, bloodshot eyes, and tiny white spots on the inside of the mouth. Several days later, a rash develops, starting on the face and upper neck and gradually spreading downwards.
Measles is easily passed from person to person and can be a serious illness in both adults and children. Its most serious complications include blindness, encephalitis (an infection that causes brain swelling), severe diarrhoea and related dehydration, and severe respiratory infections such as pneumonia.
Risk of death from measles is age-related: high in children under one year of age, lower in children aged one to nine years, rising again in teenagers and adults.
According to the World Health Organisation, the measles vaccine has been in use since the 1960s and is safe, effective and inexpensive.
Advice for travellers