“We currently have five cases of measles in Zell am See (Pinzgau),” said Petra Juhasz, director of the health department of Salzburg, on request S24. "In addition, this year in the province of Salzburg was another case of measles." This is one of the most contagious diseases. “Especially in unvaccinated children, the risk of serious complications is very high,” warns Yuhas.
Possible fatal way out
Measles can also cause irreversible damage or death. After an illness, the immune system continues to weaken for several years, increasing the risk of death from other infectious diseases. Every fourth patient is hospitalized, and every fifth patient suffers from complications such as pneumonia, bronchitis, otitis media or encephalitis. If children under the age of one year have measles disease, they have a high risk of getting the disease in one out of 600, after a few years they have a special inflammation of the brain, which is fatal.
Too few vaccinations
An analysis of measles immunization indicators for 2017 in Austria showed that about 48,000 children aged between 2 and 5 years still do not receive the second measles vaccine, 27,000 children between the ages of six and nine and half a million between 15 and 30 summer, which are not well protected from measles. It is therefore not surprising that we are talking again and again about disease outbreaks. “Vaccination coverage is not high enough,” says Juhasz, the country's health care director. "95 percent would be necessary to protect the entire population."
Health risks to children
According to Juhas, parents who do not vaccinate their children against measles are exposed to the most serious complications of the disease: "In case of an outbreak, unvaccinated children from kindergarten and school should be excluded for three weeks."
So measles disease is dangerous
Virtually every non-immune person who has contact with measles is infected with a pathogen. The virus is usually transmitted through a drip infection, that is, sneezing, coughing, with the result that the infection is possible even over long distances. With a typical course of the disease occurs approximately 8-14 days after infection with fever, headache, runny nose, cough and conjunctivitis of the eye. On the second or third day of the disease, there is a reddening of the sky and typical white spots on the cheek mucosa, accompanied by a drop in temperature and approximately from the fourth day of the disease until a characteristic red, spotted rash appears. It spreads from the face all over the body and returns after about a week with dandruff. The incubation period is 21 days.
Consequences after virus infection
In addition to the suffering of patients and their relatives, it should also be borne in mind that measles outbreaks will have additional consequences: in the event of an outbreak, the competent authorities are required to identify, contact, clarify and vaccinate each individual contact person if necessary to vaccinate or subject to appropriate restrictions.
The number of infections is growing
Anyone who has ever contracted measles usually has lifelong protection. You can get measles only once. However, measles is not a safe childhood disease. The World Health Organization (WHO) warned of the rapidly growing number of infections only at the end of 2018. In 2017, around the world, there were 30 percent more cases than in the previous year, the UN organization said. According to this, in 2017, 110,000 people worldwide died, most of whom were children.
Vaccinations in Austria for free
You can get the vaccination in the federal states' vaccination departments; the vaccine is free for all people living in Austria. “The measles vaccine is voluntary, but I hope that many people can be vaccinated,” said Health Minister Beat Hartinger-Slyne (FPÖ). The man said “self-determination” and the education of medical personnel that vaccinations are useful, she told The Edge of the Council of Ministers.
The measles vaccine, available in Austria, is a combined mumps and rubella vaccine (MMR vaccine). According to Impfprogramm Österreich 2019, two MMR vaccinations are recommended from the age of 9 months. Missed MMR vaccinations can and should be completed at any age. Since this is a live vaccine, "over-vaccination" is not possible.
(AP / S24)