French health officials, Sante Publique France, report measles is currently affecting several French regions and the rapid increase in the number of cases since the beginning of the year giving rise to fears of another major epidemic throughout the country.
After having decreased between 2012 and 2016, the number of measles cases has increased significantly since November 2017. As of March 12, 2018, 913 cases reported since November 6, 2017. 50% of cases are reported in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region.
This situation is the consequence of inadequate vaccination coverage for infants (79% with two doses of vaccine instead of the 95% needed), children and young adults.
Nearly 9 out of 10 cases of measles occurred in persons who were not or only incompletely vaccinated.
Public Health France recalls the need for a very high vaccination coverage in the population (at least 95% with two doses of vaccine in children and young adults). Such collective protection would eliminate the disease and its complications and thus also protect the most fragile people who can not be vaccinated themselves (infants under one year of age, pregnant women, immunocompromised people). It is therefore imperative that all persons born after 1980 have received two doses of vaccine.
As from 1 st January 2018 , vaccination against measles is mandatory for infants, who should receive a dose of the combined measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) at 12 months of age and a second dose between 16 and 18 month.
Measles is a highly contagious and potentially serious viral infection for which there is no cure. It is a disease that affects not only young children but also adolescents and young adults. Measles is caused by a respiratory virus that is transmitted by the projection of salivary or respiratory droplets, especially during coughing and sneezing. The contagiousness of measles cases begins about four days before the rash and lasts up to about four days after the onset of the rash.