The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) reported in October this year an epidemiological surveillance report of 13,547 cases of maladministration recorded between 12 months from 1 September this year and 31 August this year for 28 European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area (EEA).
For measles cases in the last 12 months, all EU and EEA countries have been reported. The most common reported by Greece is 3171, followed by France with 2792 cases, Italy with 2718, Romania with 1765 and Britain with 1007 cases. During this period there were also 38 deaths related to measles registered in the Member States, Arja added.
In Latvia, 65 cases of suspected measles have been reported to SPKC during this period, but the diagnosis of measles has been approved in 23 cases since 18 December last year, including six children.
Arah stressed that none of the sick children had been vaccinated against measles, but four of them had not reached the age of vaccination. In three cases, children are infected with a bite during a trip. In total, nine infections will occur outside Latvia, including two foreign residents.
As the SPKC representative points out, measles outbreaks are associated with a reduction in vaccination coverage.
"Science and practice have shown that at least 95% of the population must be vaccinated with two doses of vaccine to avoid measles outbreaks," explained Arja.
She recalled that measles is an extremely contagious disease because measles virus easily diffuses between susceptible individuals through air drops and direct contact. The larvae spread through air drops as well as through direct contact. The burden can be a very serious disease, as it occurs with severe complications, especially for children under five years, adults over 20 years, those with immunodeficiency and pregnant women.
The SPCC emphasized that the only effective protection against measles is safe and effective vaccination. A combination vaccine against measles, rubella and epidemic milk (MPR) is used for vaccination. Maximum protection requires two doses of vaccine. Consequently, the vaccination calendar for children in Latvia and in other countries provides two MPRs. The first child is given a child between the ages of 12-15 months, but a booster in Latvia is made at the age of seven.
According to Arga, with special risks of infection, for example when planning a trip with a baby to a country affected by measles and after contact with a measles patient, it is recommended that the first pot be taken before reaching the age specified in the vaccination calendar, say from the age of six. But at 12-15 months, pots must be repeated and booster vaccinations should be performed according to the vaccination calendar – seven years old.
SPKC epidemiologists evaluate the measles vaccination in children as relatively well, and that is why there have been years in Latvia when no cases of measles were recorded.
At the same time, the SPCC calls on parents to rethink the child's vaccination status, especially when traveling on an international trip.
Analysis of SPCC immunization data shows that this year, from January to June, immunization against measles, red dogs and epidemic skin has increased compared with the corresponding period 2017. In total, 98.1% of the children received the first MPR pots in the first half of this year and 89.5% of the children received the other.