NewsDesk @bactiman63

There is an ongoing measles outbreak in Romania. From October 2022 to the end of July 2023, 460 of 580 possible measles cases were confirmed in 17 of the 41 Romanian counties, according to a Eurosurveillance report. The outbreak is due to genotype D8. No measles-related deaths have so far been notified.

Image/Robert Herriman

This follows a 2-year period with zero indigenous measles cases in the country. The low measles case numbers reported during this time in Romania could be the effect of restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The median age of the confirmed cases was 4 years (range: 42 days–48 years). Of the 460 confirmed measles cases, 362 (78%) were among unvaccinated individuals, 51 were too young to be eligible for vaccination, 15 had incomplete vaccination (one dose of MMR), and for the remaining 32, no information is available.

Measles is a highly infectious disease that can result in serious complications such as pneumonia, visual impairment, severe diarrhoea and related dehydration, ear infections or encephalitis. There is no specific antiviral therapy for the treatment of measles, but the disease can be prevented by vaccination.

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The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends maintaining vaccination coverage of at least 95% in order to achieve the target of measles elimination. According to the data provided by the National Centre for Surveillance and Control of Communicable Diseases, immunization coverage with the first dose of measles–mumps–rubella (MMR) in Romania was 62% in 2022 and increased to 78% in 2023 for children born in 2021. One of the reasons for the low vaccination coverage in Romania could be parents who chose not to vaccinate their children. Another explanation for the low vaccination rates during the COVID 19 pandemic could be decreased access to general practitioners following movement restrictions and by the concentration of human resources from the health system in the pandemic management.