Rising incidence of measles in Europe increases the need to vaccinate “generation

He measles, a virus almost forgotten in Spain has made a strong comeback in Europe, prompting the need to vaccinate the so-called “Generation X,” those born roughly between 1965 and 1980. Catalonia was the first autonomous community to discover this melon, and others could follow suit. Your health department called born between 1966 and 1980 get a vaccination. In those years, the incidence of measles was low, and vaccination was not included in the vaccination calendar. In the 1970s, a monovalent vaccine was used, but only for a short period of time, so although there are people vaccinated against measles in this age group, there is no optimal protection.

As Sergas’ paper notes, systematic vaccination began to become widespread in 1981 with the MMR vaccine, which also protects against rubella and mumps, at 15 months of age, including a second dose at 11 years in 1995. In 1999-2000, an extraordinary vaccination campaign was carried out to all children aged 3 to 11 years (born 1988-1996), achieving very high coverage. The current vaccination schedule includes two doses: at 12 months and at 3 years.

“Before 1966, they most likely had measles, and between 1966 and 1980 they may not have been vaccinated,” explains the pediatrician. Fernando Moraga-Lloprepresentative Spanish Association of Vaccinologists. That’s why people born between 1966 and 1980 (ages 44 to 58) are now among the groups most affected by the virus, as measles cases rise in neighboring countries. Catalonia’s health department wants people of this age who have not been vaccinated and have not passed on the infection to receive two doses of the vaccine this year, separated by a minimum of four weeks.

In Catalonia there is a strategy called “opportunistic vaccination”, which consists of taking the opportunity when a person from the target group, for whatever reason, comes to the health center to check their vaccination status and, if necessary, offer an injection. This is not an active call to encourage this vaccination, as has been done with COVID or influenza, but it is aimed at increasing the protection of people aged 44 to 58 years from primary care.

“In principle, it is appropriate to identify populations with low vaccination rates for revaccination, perhaps those who do not have a second dose and who need revaccination,” he points out to FARO.Maria del Mar Thomasmicrobiologist in Hospital La Coruña (CHUAC) and representative Spanish Society of Infectious Diseases and Clinical Microbiology (SEIMC).

Mar Thomas cites information from Europe’s epidemiological body, the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), which has recommended intensifying efforts to improve vaccination coverage and measles surveillance.

“Sharp increase”

“The continent saw an impressive rise in measles cases last year, with 40 of 53 countries reporting more than 30,000 cases, including 21,000 hospitalizations, compared with only 941 cases reported in all of 2022. This is an increase of more than 30 times,” he emphasizes in an article in The Conversation.Raul Rivas GonzalezProfessor of Microbiology at the University of Salamanca and member of the Spanish Society of Microbiology.

In 2023, EU countries plus the UK, Liechtenstein, Iceland and Norway reported 2,361 measles cases to the ECDC. Of these, 1,755 (74.3%) were notified by Romania, 186 by Austria, 118 by France, 82 by Germany and 69 by Belgium. Neighboring Portugal has recorded at least 14 cases this year. Although Romania remains in the spotlight, with 7,243 cases and 8 deaths reported until April..

Forecasts in Spain also indicate an increase in measles cases. According to the online Epidemiology Bulletin, as of April 7 this year, 25 cases have been confirmed, more than double the total of 2023 (11 cases).

The resurgence of measles is primarily due to a decline in vaccination coverage between 2020 and 2022, due in part to the COVID-19 pandemic. vaccination coverage with the first dose in the World Health Organization (WHO) European Region decreased from 96% in 2019 to 93% in 2022, and with the second dose from 92% in 2019. During the pandemic, less than half of EU countries achieved more than 95 % vaccination coverage for the first dose of vaccine, and very few have achieved this percentage for the second dose of vaccine.

Given that measles is one of the most contagious viruses in existence, it is believed that almost 100% of the population should be covered by the vaccine. In Galicia, coverage of the second dose of the MMR vaccine has not reached the desired threshold of 95 percent in 2022.

Possible serious consequences

Measles can range from mild to causing encephalitis with serious consequences and sometimes death. Those most at risk are very young children who have not yet been vaccinated and people with weakened immune systems. Moreover, this virus is capable of erasing our immune memory. This “immunoamnesia”which can last for years makes us more vulnerable to other pathogens (respiratory infections, diarrhea…) which can also be very serious.

W vaccines

Measles was declared eliminated in Spain in 2017.However, “elimination” is different from “eradication”. The only human viral disease that has been eradicated is smallpox. And eradicating measles is very difficult, given its extremely high contagiousness, the fact that the pathogen is transmitted by airborne droplets (aerosol transmission) and the presence of people who do not have access to or reject the vaccine.

Experts recall that MMR This is one of the best vaccines that exist.and that there is no additional risk if a person who has already been vaccinated as a child is not sure whether they will be vaccinated again as an adult. It is possible to become infected with measles after vaccination, but it is extremely rare. The vaccine is highly effective, with both doses providing protective immunity in about 99% of people who receive them.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button