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Spread of measles in several Balkan countries
Measles is a highly contagious infectious disease that affects children particularly often. The disease leads to the typical red spots on the skin and fever. In some cases, however, the effects are much more dangerous. There are severe health complications that can even lead to the death of the patient. There is currently a true measles epidemic in Romania, which has already led to 35 deaths.
The National Institute for Health in Bucharest announced on Friday that a 39-year-old woman from Brasov, Transylvania, has died of the effects of measles. The deaths from measles infection in Romania have risen to 35 since August 2016. Most of the people who died from the infectious disease were young children. Often, those affected were not even one year old. According to experts, the number of reported diseases is now 9,670 cases. The World Health Organization (WHO) already issued a press release warning that measles is spreading further and further in Europe.
Religious campaigns against vaccination make it more difficult to fight the infection
Bottlenecks in the supply of vaccines seem to be problematic in containing the measles epidemic. Another major problem that health authorities have blamed for the epidemic is religious campaigns against vaccination in Romania. This critical stance against vaccinations makes the fight against the highly contagious infectious disease considerably more difficult.
There has also been one death from measles in Kosovo
But Romania is not the only country hit by measles. In addition to Romania, other regions in the Balkans are currently affected by measles. For the first time in about 20 years, there have been cases of measles infections in Kosovo again. In the capital of Kosovo, Pristina (also the largest city in the country with over 200,000 inhabitants), 140 measles infections have been detected in the past few weeks alone. There was also a measles death here, a teenage girl died of the effects of the infectious disease.
One person has already died of measles in Germany this year
In Montenegro, a direct neighbor of Kosovo, doctors and authorities are now also worried about an outbreak of the infectious disease. The vaccination rate in children declined sharply there. Instead of the previous 95 percent, only about 65 percent of the children are now vaccinated. One might think that the infections only affect countries in Southeast Europe. But the number of measles cases is also increasing in Germany.
The populous state of North Rhine-Westphalia is particularly affected by the infectious disease. And there was already one death from measles in Germany this year. A 37-year-old woman died of measles in Essen. The triple mother from Essen was apparently not sufficiently vaccinated against the dangerous infectious disease.
WHO is working to eradicate measles worldwide
The World Health Organization (WHO) has long been working to eradicate this dangerous infectious disease worldwide. The use of vaccinations has significantly reduced the infection rate in most countries. In countries and regions with a high rate of vaccination, measles is almost completely eradicated. (as)