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Measles. Further outbreaks of infection in Poland

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Diseases that we thought we could forget about are coming back. And we could, as long as enough of us got vaccinated. And now measles patients are fighting for their lives in hospitals, and there are more and more of them every year – in proportion to how many people do not want to get vaccinated.

They got used to it and almost forgot it. – We have not recorded any case for three years – admits Cyryla Frankowska-Staszewska from the District Sanitary and Epidemiological Station in Poznań.

But they are already registering and it is so serious: – One of our patients is fighting for her life in the pediatric intensive care unit. She required intubation and mechanical ventilation – says Dr. Kamila Ludwikowska from the Department of Pediatrics and Infectious Diseases of the University Clinical Hospital in Wrocław.

These are the effects of measles, outbreaks of which occurred in Wrocław, Poznań and Warsaw. Since the beginning of the year, nearly one hundred people, mainly children, have fallen ill throughout Poland. For comparison, in recent years the number of cases was three times lower on average and throughout the year.

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The number of unvaccinated children increases every year

– Measles has returned because the vaccination rate among the population has decreased – explains Dr. hab. Ewelina Gowin from the Observation and Infectious Diseases Department of the Wielkopolska Pediatric Center. And it turned out that it had fallen below the critical limit.

– Herd immunity is not achievable. Unfortunately, an increase in cases is expected in the coming years, says Wojciech Konieczny, Deputy Minister of Health.

SEE ALSO: HPV vaccination in schools? “Logistically, it's a big challenge,” but the work is ongoing

The limit of population immunity is 95 percent vaccination coverage in society. We don't have one like that in Poland anymore. – If 95 percent or more are vaccinated, measles does not spread. Vaccinated people protect the few percent of unvaccinated people – informs Dr. Michał Sutkowski, president of the Warsaw Family Physicians from the Lazarski University.

But the number of unvaccinated children in Poland increases every year. Over the course of 20 years, this number has increased almost eighteenfold. Ten years ago, one out of every thousand children was unvaccinated. Now, 12 out of a thousand children are unvaccinated.

“I didn't expect to see measles again”

-It adds up, doesn't it? There may be as many as a million such children in Poland today who are not immunized – in the group from birth to 18 years of age – says Dr. Paweł Grzesiowski, an expert of the Supreme Medical Council for Epidemic Threats.

Measles is considered the most contagious of all infectious diseases. It was overcome thanks to effective vaccinations. – When I started working in this department 10 years ago, I did not expect that I would still see measles – admits Dr. Kamila Ludwikowska from the Department of Pediatrics and Infectious Diseases of the University Clinical Hospital in Wrocław.

SEE ALSO: The number of measles cases is increasing. Parents with 'scary' symptoms

The return of a dangerous infectious diseaseTVN24

But the doctors are looking at her again and they know why. – One of the causes of this plague that is spreading are anti-vaccination theories – says Włodzisław Giziński, a doctor and MP from the Civic Coalition. Among them, a particularly widespread theory is about measles. – Because this is a vaccine that was once suspected of causing autism, completely falsely, I repeat: completely falsely. Absolute nonsense – says Dr. Michał Sutkowski.

Anti-vaxxers wanted to attend Thursday's meeting of the parliamentary health committee. They were not allowed in. – As long as I am the chairman of this committee, they will not cross the threshold of the health committee's door, it is a waste of money for tickets, they should not travel around Poland for nothing – says Bartosz Arłukowicz, a doctor and MP of the Civic Coalition.

Main photo source: weather

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