Outbreak of Measles in Europe due to Persons not being vaccinated


The Collective Prevention Service (CPS) of the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour, says according to World Health Organization (WHO), the primary reason for the increased transmission and outbreaks of measles in the European Region is a failure to vaccinate.



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Since 2003, substantial progress has been made towards the goal of eliminating measles from the WHO European Region by 2010.  However, in late 2009, a widespread increase in transmission of the measles virus began.


During 2011, measles outbreaks were reported in 36 of the 53 Member States in the European Region, with over 26,000 measles cases reported region wide as of 26 October, 2011.


France reported the largest number of cases and these occurred predominantly among older children and young adults who had not been vaccinated or whose vaccination history was unknown.


The 60th meeting of the Regional Committee for Europe in September 2010 has set a new elimination target by 2015. Eliminating measles by 2015 will require that the demand of vaccination is increased in order to achieve and sustain 95 per cent coverage with two doses of measles-containing vaccine across a wide age range.


Secondly, an effective outbreak control measures are implemented, and thirdly, surveillance is further strengthened to ensure the timely identification of cases and outbreaks, and to validate elimination in the future.


CPS is therefore recommending residents prior to travel to ensure that their vaccination status is up to date.  The CPS carries out an awareness campaign every year in order to encourage the populace especially the youth to vaccinate and protect themselves from possible outbreaks such as the current one in Europe.


Sint Maarten coverage ranges between 85 to 90 per cent.  This coverage is influenced by the parent’s consent and population mobilization.


CPS is reminding residents who plan to travel to Europe, to check with their family physician to make sure their vaccinations are up to date, especially for measles.


Travel increases the risk for exposure to measles virus and its further spread into susceptible populations if not vaccinated. 


Measles is a highly infectious disease that causes complications and death, even in previously healthy individuals, but is fully preventable by vaccination.


Talk to your doctor to check if your vaccinations are up to date! 


The first MMR vaccine is routinely recommended at age 12 months. Ensure that you and your child are well vaccinated.  For children, birth through 17 years of age, contact Youth Health Care (YHC) and for adults consult your family physician.