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21 June, 2024
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Europe on alert amid measles outbreak

Nicosia's pediatric director calls for child vaccinations against measles as its resurgence causes worry among health officials in Europe


Dr. Avraam Elia, Director of the Pediatric Department at Makario Hospital in Nicosia, emphasized the critical need to vaccinate children amid a resurgence of measles cases across Europe. Despite no recorded cases in Cyprus over the past month, health officials are urging vigilance and swift action to prevent an outbreak.

The World Health Organization (WHO) issued a press release today raising concerns about the escalating number of measles cases in Europe, putting millions of children at risk. With cases expected to surpass the total reported in 2023, the WHO underscores the urgent necessity for a rapid response to contain the outbreak.

Dr. Elias highlighted that while Cyprus has recorded approximately eight measles cases in the last three months, all of them involved unvaccinated individuals, primarily infants who missed their vaccination schedules. However, there have been no reported cases in the past month.

Despite a vaccination coverage of around 80% in Cyprus, Dr. Elias cautioned that this falls below the WHO's recommended threshold of 95% for population immunity. He emphasized the importance of vaccination, particularly the measles, rubella, and mumps (MMR) vaccine, administered in two doses at 12 months and 3-4 months later.

Noting the safety and effectiveness of the MMR vaccine, Dr. Elias stressed the severity of measles, a highly contagious disease that can lead to complications such as encephalitis, acute otitis media, and pneumonitis. He debunked the misconception that unvaccinated children are protected by herd immunity, emphasizing the necessity of individual vaccination to safeguard against measles and its complications.

Dr. Elias reiterated the WHO's recommendation for timely vaccination, emphasizing the importance of both doses to ensure comprehensive protection against measles, rubella, and mumps. As Europe grapples with rising measles cases, health authorities urge parents to prioritize their children's vaccination to prevent the spread of this preventable disease.

[With information from CNA]

Cyprus  |  health

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