In Romania, 17 children have died from measles in the past weeks. Health minister Florian Bodog said in Bucharest, none of the children who died were vaccinated against the disease.
Bodog urged Romanians to get vaccinated. Especially children needed measles vaccinations. Romania had reported 3,400 measles cases since February of 2016, while there had been only seven cases the year before.
The outbreak is being blamed on the poverty in the country, along with a limited access to healthcare, but also on a growing number of parents who refuse to have their children vaccinated. According to media reports, there is a movement of parents who reject any kind of vaccination.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends two doses of vaccinations, the first of which should be given before a child’s first birthday. This will ensure immunity and prevent outbreaks, the WHO says.
Romania’s neighbouring countries are now fearing, the measles outbreak might come across the border and hit them too.
In eastern Hungary, close to the Romanian border, a hospital was just closed, after 12 staff members were diagnosed with measles. A Romanian ER patient at that clinic might have brought the illness into Hungary.
Also in western European countries, religious organizations and other groups have started anti-vaccination campaigns, which health officials believe are dangerous and irresponsible.
The measles virus causes the illness, which is highly infectious. The symptoms include high temperature, cough and a runny nose. A red rash, which usually starts in the face, develops three to five days after the first symptoms.