Germany as a measles exporter

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Germany as a measles exporter

Although the World Health Organization (WHO) had actually propagated the goal that measles should have been eradicated in Germany by 2010, 390 people have contracted measles in Germany this year. A 26-year-old patient with previous illnesses in a Munich clinic even died of measles. The reason for the dramatic revival of measles is the lack of vaccination protection in the population, warn the health authorities.

The increasing number of measles diseases is, according to the health authorities and the professional association of pediatricians (BVKJ), a clear sign of the spread of the virus in the unprotected population. The BVKJ considers that even medical personnel are not vaccinated against measles, as became clear in the context of the death in the Munich clinic. Measles is one of the diseases with the highest risk of infection and if exposed to the virus without protection, 95 to 99 percent of those affected would develop measles, the BVKJ warned.

Measles is highly contagious - vaccination is recommended According to the President of the Professional Association of Pediatricians, Wolfram Hartmann, measles can currently spread mainly to the population between the ages of 20 and 40, since the appropriate vaccination protection is largely lacking here. According to the experts, it is particularly problematic that the supposedly harmless infectious disease in adults is often considerably more severe and can be fatal. According to the BVKJ President, the age group of 20 to 40-year-olds is particularly at risk, since they were either vaccinated against measles only once as a child and the vaccination was not refreshed afterwards (this has only been the case since 2001), or none at all in childhood Received vaccination and did not get measles. Those who suffered from measles as a child are immune to the disease all their lives and need not worry about vaccination protection, the expert explained. However, all unprotected people are exposed to a considerable risk of infection if they come into contact with the measles virus, because 99 out of 100 people without appropriate antibodies will fall ill if they come into contact with the measles pathogen. Nevertheless, unlike in Scandinavia or North and South America, for example, vaccination is not mandatory in Germany, the president of the BVKJ criticized. The expert regards the fact that even medical personnel do not have to undergo vaccinations as a scandal.

Vaccinations the only option in the fight against measles? Both the BVKJ and the Robert Koch Institute's Standing Vaccination Committee see consistent vaccinations as the only way to effectively combat measles. Not only children should be vaccinated, but also all people born after 1970 are asked to check their personal vaccination protection and, if necessary, to make up for the vaccination, explained the president of the BVKJ. According to the BVKJ and the Standing Committee on Vaccination, people who are unsure whether they already had measles as a child and thus have the appropriate protection should be vaccinated. The BVKJ President Wolfram Hartmann explained that the risk of infection can be excluded in the future by two injections at intervals of four to six weeks. The costs of the double vaccination against measles, mumps and rubella are also covered by the health insurance for adults, Hartmann continues. According to the doctor, the vaccine is generally well tolerated and side effects are not to be feared or extremely rare. In connection with the measles vaccination, Hartmann also called for a national vaccination plan similar to that which is already being used in other countries. For the experts, it is hard to believe that "Germany is one of the largest measles exporters in Europe".

Measles particularly threatening for adults Tomas Jelinek, scientific director of the Center for Travel Medicine (CRM) in Düsseldorf also warned that the health risks of highly contagious measles are often underestimated in this country. Adults in particular are often not aware of the health effects that measles diseases can have, criticized the expert. According to Jelinek, measles are by no means harmless and can be fatal. Especially in older people, the disease usually takes a considerably more severe course. Initial symptoms include fever, headache, conjunctivitis, runny nose and cough, and a little later the typical blotchy, reddish rash (measles rash), which can spread throughout the entire body as the process progresses. BVKJ President Hartmann explained that there can be significant complications in the course of the disease, particularly in older people and people with a weakened immune system. Inflammation of the eyes or lungs is relatively often the result of a measles disease, but life-threatening inflammation of the brain also occurs in the context of measles. According to the expert, about one in 1,000 measles patients die from brain inflammation. (fp)

Read about measles and infections:
First measles death in years
WHO: Measles increase in Europe
Measles also affects adults
The measles infectious disease is spreading
Vaccination review: how useful are vaccinations?
Measles is raging in Baden-Württemberg

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