пн, 11/14/2011

Increase of measles cases rises concern

In Germany significantly more cases of measles have been recorded this year than in the past years. It seems that despite general vaccination recommendation this disease is again on the rise. Doctors criticize the general vaccination fatigue of the Germans.

That measles is not just a "harmless" childhood disease as many people believe, shows a particularly tragic case in Aschaffenburg where a six-year-old girl died on the long-term consequences of measles. At the age of seven months the child got infected by an adult and at the age of five as a consequence of the infection had developed a chronic and incurable brain inflammation.

According to Robert Koch Institute there is a rapid increase in measles cases this year in Berlin. 159 cases were already registered in 2011. In 2010 there were only 92 and in 2009 only 33 cases of measles.

The Waldkrankenhaus Hospital in Spandau has five cases of measles so far this year, while within the last five years there was not more than one known infection in the area of Spandau, which the Waldkrankenhaus serves, per year. The main reason responsible for the nationwide increase in measles vaccination is blamed on a increasing fatigue for vaccination in Germany.

The chief physician of the Department of Child and Adolescent Medicine of Waldkrankenhaus Hospital, Priv-Doz. Dr. Frank Jochum says about the general vaccination fatigue:

"From our perspective, this situation is very problematic. We have the impression that many have forgotten the horrors that are caused by diseases for which there is a recommendation for vaccination. Especially in the affluent and well educated families, who are concerned, open to alternative ideas and seek a natural way of life, vaccination fatigue is a frequent occurrence. This means as well that during the quest for a natural way of life in a proportion of these people serious illnesses and permanent health problems can arise. What happens here is most similar to what happens in populations in those countries where vaccinations are not widely available. There, the damage caused by avoidable diseases is clearly recognizable, eg in people limping as a result of poliomyelitis or other infections which could have been prevented had there only been a possibility for vaccination."

Measles - one of the most contagious diseases

Measles disease starts with symptoms such as coughs, colds and fever. After a few days a dark red rash appears. With the outbreak of the first symptoms the sick can infect others already. Transmission occurs when coughing and talking about saliva droplets. Measles are generally seen as a childhood disease, but nowadays more and more adolescents and adults fall ill of it. Doctors especially warn about the late effects of measles.

The risks of not vaccinating

"Some of the people who got infected can develop permanent health problems such as permanent paralysis with polio (infantile paralysis) or encephalitis with measles. This can lead to permanent damage of the nervous system and intellectual capabilities up to severe permanent disabilities," warns Priv-Doz. Dr. Frank Jochum of Waldkrankenhaus Hospital in Spandau.

All persons who have not been vaccinated should get at least the vaccination against the most dangerous diseases. To do so you should consult your GP or pediatrician.