Measles strikes Spain again

Measles strikes Spain again

The incidence of measles is increasing significantly in the most developed countries, and Spain is starting to catch (it should be said) this trend. the first outbreaks of this infectious disease after the pandemic, in particular in Toledo and Alicante, as reported yesterday by the newspaper El País. A total of 15 cases have been confirmed since January 1, of which seven are imported, in which transmission occurred in other countries, and eight are local.

The World Health Organization (WHO) warned in late January of an “alarming rise” in cases in Europe. In the rest of the continent, where anti-vaccination movements have a greater presence than in Spain, cases increased 30-fold in 2023. vaccination adherence is highbut for stopping transmission requires greater than 95% coverage. That is why experts, calling for calm, warn that Don’t let your guard down when immunizing.

a child with a rash (red spots) from measles

In accordance with A countryToledo and Alicante, with five and four cases respectively, became the first two provinces affected by outbreaks –which are already considered closed– after four years of no diagnosis in Spain. Aragon and Catalonia, for their part, are investigating one case each, in which the origin of the infection is currently unknown.

“For now In Spain this is not a concern., since these were isolated outbreaks and it is important to highlight that it infected unvaccinated people,” emphasizes Professor of Immunology Africa González, researcher at the Center for Biomedical Research (CINBIO) of the University of Vigo. In statements to the Scientific Media Center of Spain, González emphasizes that in Spain there are very good vaccination coverage with two recommended doses, but this is not the case in other countries. “People with weakened immune systems may experience imported cases or infection if they travel to countries where there is not good vaccination coverage,” the scientist says, pointing out that those most at risk are “very young children who have not yet been vaccinated and people with weakened immune system.”

Removed in 2017.

Measles declared eliminated in Spain on September 26, 2017, when WHO Europe said Spain had achieved this by not recording endemic transmission of the virus during 2014, 2015 and 2016. But “elimination” is different from “eradication.” The only human disease that has been eradicated is smallpox. And eradicating measles is a difficult goal, given that it extremely contagious virusWhat transmitted through the air (aerosols), and then there are those who don’t get the vaccine because they can’t or, absurdly, don’t want to. “To be able to control this disease, almost 100 percent vaccination coverage is necessary,” explains Africa Gonzalez. Anti-vaccination movements and religious groups are causing great damage to the fight against measles. The disease was already under control, and it was even believed that it could be eradicated, but these movements led to many families in different countries (Israel, USA, France…) refusing to vaccinate their children, which significantly increased the incidence of measles in their own countries, as well as with outbreaks in other countries due to the movement of infected people,” he adds.

“Low vaccination rates in certain geographic regions mean there are multiple measles outbreaks,” confirms Marcos Lopez Hoyos President of the Spanish Society of Immunology (SEI)–. These cases are imported into our country when movements occur. Fortunately, we have a very high vaccination rate, which serves as a protective barrier and prevents expansion in our country,” adds SMC López Hoyos, who is also a professor of immunology at the University of Cantabria.

“The hygiene and isolation measures taken during the pandemic were also very effective against measles,” he points out on the same portal. Ignacio J. Molina, Professor of Immunology at the University of Granada. He stresses that “the vaccine we have is very effective,” but “to achieve an end to transmission of the virus, we need a vaccination rate of greater than 95% of the population.”

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