Romania declares a measles epidemic. The increase in the number of cases is dramatic, and most of the affected children were not vaccinated. The local Ministry of Health directly admits that the number of vaccinated children has been falling regularly for years. This is the result of parents’ lack of knowledge and misinformation.
2,000 cases in just the last few weeks, a sharp increase in hospitalization of children in pediatric and infectious disease wards – measles is spreading in Romania, and the situation has become so serious that the authorities of this country decided to declare a nationwide epidemic.
– The declaration of an epidemic threat makes it possible to accelerate vaccination campaigns, including for younger children, i.e. aged 9-11 months. Unfortunately, the increase in the number of unvaccinated children contributes to the continued spread of the virus in the community – said Prof. Alexandru Rafila, Minister of Health of Romania.
A very serious disease
Measles symptoms appear at 10-12. day after infection. There is a dry cough, conjunctivitis, and increased body temperature. After another 2-3 days, small white spots may be observed in the mouth, followed by a rash on the skin of the entire body. The patient may have a fever of up to 40 degrees. The complications in the long run can be tragic.
– The most terrifying complication in the acute phase is primary measles pneumonia caused directly by this virus. A few years, 5-7-10 years after measles, the patient may develop an infection of the central nervous system called subacute sclerosing encephalitis, which invariably ends in death, emphasized Dr. Catalin Apostolescu from the Romanian National Institute of Infectious Diseases.
All this can be easily prevented – just register your child for free vaccination. Unfortunately, for over a decade, fewer and fewer people have decided to do so – this is the reason for the worsening epidemic situation in Romania. The country achieved a vaccination rate of 78 percent for the first dose and just 62 percent for the second dose. WHO recommends a two-dose vaccination rate of 95 percent.
– Measles is a very dangerous disease, especially for the youngest, because it attacks the immune system. It is not just a rash or fever, but above all very serious disruptions in the immune system, which cause severe pneumonia and damage to internal organs such as the brain, even in this acute phase, said Dr. Paweł Grzesiowski, an expert on epidemic threats of the Supreme Medical Council.
The greatest reluctance to vaccinate in cities
In 2016, during the previous epidemic, almost 20,000 Romanians contracted measles and 64 children died.
Vaccination reluctance has deepened in Romania during the COVID-19 pandemic. Only 42 percent of the population has taken two doses of COVID-19. Research by the National Institute of Infectious Diseases shows that most unvaccinated people live in cities.
– In large cities, access to this – to put it sarcastically – “reliable” information is greater, city residents think that they are generally more educated – this is probably some explanation – says Dr. Adrian Marinescu from the Romanian National Institute of Infectious Diseases.
The situation is not good in Poland either. According to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control, in 2021, vaccination coverage with the first dose of the measles vaccine decreased to 80 percent. For the second dose it was 95 percent.
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