Measles epidemic spreads in eastern Slovakia again

Vaccination rate dropped below the limit for collective immunity.

(Source: AP/SITA)

A further measles epidemic broke out before the Christmas holidays in the Trebišov district in eastern Slovakia. Altogether, 17 new cases of the disease were diagnosed, eight of them in children younger than 15 months.

Read also:Measles return to Slovakia after 20 years

The epidemic was officially announced on December 23, by which time there were 89 confirmed and probable measles cases, Daša Račková, spokesperson for the Public Health Authority of the Slovak Republic announced.

“The Regional Public Health Authority in Trebišov has taken several steps to prevent the development and spread of the disease,” said Račková, as quoted by the TASR newswire. The steps include medical supervision and the extraordinary vaccination against measles of children under 15 months of age residing in Trebišov and also children younger than 11 years residing in Veľká Tŕňa.

The active centres of the infection are in the town of Trebišov and the villages of Sečovce, Parchovany, Hrčeľ, Veľká tŕňa, Egreš, Kravany, Zemplínska Teplica and Bačkov.

Low vaccination rate

Hygienists monitored the occurrence of the disease during the holidays and recommended that visits with young children and pregnant women who are not vaccinated against measles should be reduced.

Read also:The east continues its fight against measles

The vaccination rate against measles in Slovakia has dropped under the critical threshold of 95 percent, the limit that ensures collective immunity and prevents an epidemic from developing. In the Bratislava and Trenčín regions the vaccination rate has been low for several years, bringing the nationwide average down to 94.8 percent, Hospodárske Noviny wrote.

When it comes to districts, the lowest vaccination rate is in Prievidza, with less than 90 percent. In comparison with Europe, the situation in Slovakia is good, although the trend is worsening, Hospodárske Noviny wrote.

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