More and more measles cases

More and more measles cases

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Measles is spreading more and more in Cologne

An increasing number of measles cases in Germany have been reported over the past few months. Cases of illness are also being increasingly registered in Cologne. The health department of the cathedral city calls for the vaccination protection to be checked.

Significantly more measles cases than in the previous year

Some people still dismiss measles as a harmless childhood disease. But the disease also affects adults. Illnesses are currently on the rise in Cologne. Since the beginning of 2018, 55 confirmed reports have been received by the health department of the cathedral city (as of May 18). "These are significantly more measles reports than in the same period last year," says a message from the authority. And: "The age range extends from infancy (six months) to senior age (62 years)."

Serious illness

“Measles is a serious illness that is caused by viruses. This is not a harmless childhood illness, ”writes the health department.

The disease can lead to considerable complications and long-term consequences. Measles usually start with a high fever, cough and runny nose.

Within a few days, the characteristic rash forms on the face and behind the ears and spreads over the whole body.

If the symptoms do not alleviate after eight days, the risk of serious complications such as pneumonia and otitis media or infections of the larynx and trachea increases.

"In rare cases, the worst consequences of measles disease can be inflammation of the brain and brain, which may lead to death," the agency warns.

Transmission by droplet infection

"Unprotected people can easily become infected when an infected person is nearby," the message says.

"Measles are contagious as early as five days before the rash appears and four days after the spots have become visible."

The pathogens are transmitted via droplets, for example when speaking, coughing and sneezing.

Health experts advise vaccination

A double vaccination offers the best protection against the viral disease. Therefore, according to the office, it is important that adults now have their own vaccination protection and that of their children checked by a doctor and completed if necessary.

Measles vaccinations are carried out as combination vaccinations, the so-called measles-mumps-rubella vaccinations - nowadays often in combination with a vaccine against chickenpox.

Two vaccinations are generally required to be fully protected.

In Germany measles vaccination is recommended for children from the eleventh month of life, for infants in a day care center from the ninth month.

And: "A single vaccination against measles is generally recommended for all adults who were born after 1970 and who have not been vaccinated against measles at all or only once during childhood or whose vaccination status is unclear," writes the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) on his website.

"People who were born before 1970 are very likely to have had measles," said the experts.

What to do if measles occurs

If the disease has broken out, there is no causal treatment, only symptom relief and the treatment of concomitant diseases.

"Community facilities such as schools and day care centers may not be visited as long as there is a risk of infection," said the Cologne health authority.

Any person who has had even brief contact with a measles sufferer is considered a "contact person". In a school or day care center, this includes all people who visit this facility or work there.

In case of contact, the vaccination protection must always be checked. If this is incomplete, vaccination can prevent the onset of the disease in the first three days after contact.

Contact persons who have neither vaccination protection nor such "re-vaccination" must stay away from the school and the day care center for 14 days.

According to the Infection Protection Act, physicians are obliged to report suspicion, evidence of measles and death from measles.

Parents or legal guardians are obliged to notify the school or day care center. The heads of school and day care centers have a duty to notify the health department. (ad)

Author and source information

Video: More than 110,000 measles cases reported globally in Q1, 300% increase on-year: WHO (August 2022).