Copenhagen / Vienna. (leg / apa) It starts with a few drops. Droplets that form when speaking, sneezing or coughing and can be transmitted easily and quickly. Then it usually takes eight to ten days, until it comes to the typical cold symptoms such as coughing or runny nose. After a few days, the measles-typical rash becomes visible, brownish-pink spots that later heal again – "with the formation of small-scale dandruff", as the Ministry of Health tells.
For many, measles is still considered harmless. But the disease that so many have endured in childhood has its pitfalls. First of all, it is the most contagious disease known. If you come into contact with an infected person and you are not vaccinated or protected by the fact that you already had the disease, you are infected with more than 99%. Moreover, the infection can put an end to evil: in one of 1000 cases, even with death, for example when it comes to brain inflammation, which also causes permanent damage. In addition, seven to nine percent of patients suffer from middle ear infection with threatened hearing damage or one to six percent severe pneumonia.
Many sick people in Ukraine
Disappearance from Europe is certainly not the disease that the World Health Organization is spreading. On the contrary, as the figures from recent years prove. Measles grow in the elevator. The number of diseases has risen sharply in Europe. More than 41,000 children and adults were infected with the virus in Europe in the first half of 2018, the WHO reported in Copenhagen. At least 37 people had died from the disease.
That is considerably more than in the whole of 2017. Only 23,924 people were affected by the virus in the European region of the WHO. And this number had already caused the necessary upheaval. The WHO had then talked about a tragedy. A year earlier, in 2016, there were only 5,273 cases. This was the lowest number of cases of measles. It fueled hope in the WHO that it would be possible to make the virus disappear.
This optimism has now disappeared. Zsuzsanna Jakab, the regional director of the WHO in Europe, speaks of a "dramatic increase in infections and extensive outbreaks". In fact, in Ukraine alone, in the first six months, 23,000 people were infected with the virus. In six other countries – France, Georgia, Greece, Italy, Russia and Serbia – there were more than 1000 cases. 37 people died, most in Serbia, where the infection is highest. There were also many sick people in Romania, Italy or France.
Jakab is now raising the alarm and calling on the 53 member states of the WHO European Region – going beyond Europe and even Asian countries like Kyrgyzstan – to take action to prevent the disease from spreading. The universal recipe of the health bureaucracy is: vaccination. "Good health for everyone starts with the vaccine," said Jakab in Copenhagen.
After all, the reason why diseases are common in Ukraine – more than half of the cases of measles have occurred in the country – is due to the lack of vaccination, according to Jakab. In the course of the conflict in Ukraine, the vaccination and control routines were interrupted. In Italy, for example, the new movement for 5-star movements and Lega, following a vow of a campaign, reversed the one-year-old vaccination requirement for ten immunizations that had begun promisingly. Vaccination proponents state that a national vaccination of the population can make the disease disappear and that this goal is prevented by vaccinating opponents.
In Austria, 62 cases of measles were reported in the first half of 2018 according to WHO data. 95 cases were registered throughout 2017.