A measles outbreak in Bulgaria is spreading among children who had not been vaccinated, the country’s health authorities said on February 15.
There were conflicting accounts of the number of confirmed cases.
On the afternoon of February 15, Bulgarian National Television reported the National Centre for Infectious and Parasitic Diseases as saying that 12 cases of measles had been confirmed by laboratory tests.
Bulgarian National Radio reported Bulgaria’s chief state health inspector, Dr Angel Kunchev, as saying that 21 patients had been confirmed as having measles.
In Razlog, the centre of the outbreaks, the children’s ward has been closed in an attempt to stop the spread of the infection, BNT reported.
Five children from Razlog with measles were being treated in St Anna Hospital in Sofia. None was in critical condition.
The head of the infectious diseases department at St Anna Hospital, Dr Petar Petrov, said that none of the children had been vaccinated.
Earlier, the Health Ministry said in an official statement that it had received information on February 15 from the regional health inspectorate in Blagoevgrad about four new cases of measles, with the patients admitted to hospital in the University Hospital in the city.
Three of the cases were children from Razlog, two younger than two years and one aged 13.
The fourth case was a 27-year-old man from Razlog, who had arrived from Italy about a week ago with complaints of fever and cough. He was treated at home, but due to not responding to the symptoms, after being examined by a GP, he was hospitalised with suspicion of measles. The man is in a severe state with respiratory failure and had been transferred to the Department of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care, the Health Ministry said.
A projected near-doubling of measles infections has been identified amid rising severe and protracted outbreaks all over the planet, in poor and rich countries alike, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said.
Measles killed 72 children and adults in the European Region in 2018, WHO said.