Measles occurred in eastern Slovakia

Four teenagers from Michalovce are reportedly infected with measles; doctors ascribe this to a low vaccination rate in some areas.

The Michalovce hospitalThe Michalovce hospital(Source: Courtesy of Svet Zdravia)

The Public Health Authority (ÚVZ) branch in the town of Michalovce (Košice Region, eastern Slovakia) has reported that four people aged 12-19 are suffering from measles, the Sme daily wrote on May 28.

In three cases, the disease was traced back to the UK, while one person was infected in Slovakia. None of the four children were vaccinated against measles.

The cases were reported between May 7 and 24, said the main public health officer in Slovakia, Ján Mikas, as quoted by the daily. The Public Health Authority noted that none of the teenagers have been vaccinated and three of them arrived form the UK already infected. ÚVZ also claims it adopted measures to prevent the spreading of this infectious disease.

“Last week, eight more cases (after two previous confirmed instances) were detected, which are probably measles, too,” Jana Fedáková, communication official of the Svet Zdravia hospital network, told Sme. She added that they must wait for test results to confirm the suspicion. In total, 11 patients have been isolated so far in the Michalovce hospital.

Those infected are from Drahňov

The infected teenagers come from the village of Drahňov in the Michalovce District, mayor Tibor Jasovský confirmed for the daily, adding that the municipal office has completed all measures necessary to prevent the spread of disease; they announced the incidence on municipal radio and posted it on the official noticeboard of the municipal office.

Public health officer: Vaccination is necessary

Slovak measles cases will be reported with the European Rapid Warning System, said Mikas, adding that many epidemics of measles in European Union member states prove that the disease is still circulating within the population. “Due to the lower rate of vaccination in Slovakia, further importation of diseases to our territory cannot be excluded,” he noted, adding that the importance of vaccination must be stressed continuously, as this is the only specific, preventative measure of this highly infectious illness.

In Bratislava, six people were hospitalized with measles at the beginning of this year, and in April, two Slovaks working in Austria were infected.

Two pediatricians from eastern Slovakia have opined that the instances of measles are increasing due to the low vaccination rate, which is the result of various anti-vaccination campaigns. These campaigns are declining, however.

In the past, many of the diseases Slovaks were vaccinated against disappeared from the country but recently, some of them reappeared and others (mumps, rubella/German measles) may reappear, too, as their vaccination rate has fallen under 95 percent; this is the also the case with measles. Children must be vaccinated against diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, polio, virus of hepatitis B, invasive hemophilia infections, pneumococcal invasive diseases, measles, mumps and rubella/German measles.

The doctors opine that most cases occur in cities with problems with vaccination, while villages and smaller towns are not involved, Sme wrote.

Disclaimer: Penta, the owner of Svet Zdravia, is a minority shareholder of Petit Press, the co-owner of The Slovak Spectator.

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