Romania measles outbreak grows, officials lower age to give vaccine
The measles outbreak in Romania has more than doubled since late October, according to Romania’s Ministry of Health. The outbreak tally has grown to 1,725, up from about 800 a month and a half ago.
In an effort to get the outbreak under control, the health ministry, in conjunction with the World Health Organization, the National Institute of Public Health, the National Society of Family Medicine, and UNICEF have formulated a plan, which includes lowering the age of vaccination for administering the first vaccine dose from one year to nine months.
Children vaccinated earlier under this provision will then be vaccinated according to the National Immunization Programme at 12 months and five years.
“Limiting the measles outbreak can be done only with the help of the parents who understand the responsibility they have to protect their children against this disease that can kill or harm their children for life. The vaccine is the only effective weapon that can fight against this serious disease,” according to a health ministry statement.
Fingers have pointed at the anti-vaccination campaign that has drawn a lot of supporters among Romanian parents in recent years as the cause of this years measles outbreak.
According to the World Health Organization, measles is a highly contagious, serious disease caused by a virus. In 1980, before widespread vaccination, measles caused an estimated 2.6 million deaths each year.
The disease remains one of the leading causes of death among young children globally, despite the availability of a safe and effective vaccine. Approximately 145,700 people died from measles in 2013 – mostly children under the age of 5.