In a follow-up on the measles outbreak in Italy, the number of cases has increased by 136 since our last report, bringing the total to 1739 cases since the beginning of the year, according to Italian health officials.

Image/Hans via pixabay
Image/Hans via pixabay

Some other data pertaining to the Italy measles outbreak include: 88 percent of the cases are unvaccinated, one third of cases suffered at least one complication, 39 percent required hospitalization for their illness, the median age of the cases in 27 years and 159 cases among healthcare workers.

This update comes on the the heels of the start of World Immunization Week (WIW), which in Europe is called the European Immunization Week (EIW). This is a time to raise awareness and decision-makers about the importance of vaccination in all stages of life.

According to a Ministry of Health publication from late March titled, Vaccinations, state of the art, false myths and perspectives. The key role of prevention (computer translated):  Over the last twenty years in Italy, we have witnessed some epidemics with thousands of cases and some deaths.  2002-2003 was particularly interesting as the Campania region saw the hospitalization of more than 600 people, 16 cases of encephalitis and four deaths.

The distribution geographically coincided closely with vaccine coverage, with the lowest in Southern Italy. The vaccine coverage has grown in recent years; however, a downturn has been observed in the last two years.

In Europe, the latest assessment reveals more than 7500 cases of measles, with Romania being the most affected country with 4793 patients reported between January 2016 and April 7 this year, according to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control. In total there are 25 deaths in Europe, 22 of which have occurred in Romania. Portugal, Switzerland and Bulgaria are the other three countries with fatalities.