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Austria starts vaccination campaign against measles
In Austria, the Ministry of Health is launching a new campaign against measles, mumps and rubella. According to estimates, around 10,000 people in the Alpine Republic have contracted measles in the past few years and 16 children have died.
Do not underestimate the disease According to experts, measles, mumps and rubella are by no means "harmless childhood diseases". According to estimates, around 10,000 people fell ill with measles in Austria alone, and 16 children died of it. The Ministry of Health wants to combat the problem with a new vaccination campaign. Health Minister Alois Stöger (SPÖ) explained: “Measles are no child's play. I remembered my childhood and asked my mom. We were five siblings - everyone was sick. It was a long time before I went back to school. The danger is that you underestimate the disease and dismiss it as a childhood illness. "
Free vaccination program for children In Austria, there has been a free vaccination program against measles, mumps and rubella since 1998. But although the diseases should actually be "banished" by the MMR vaccine, this is far from the case. "We have had outbreaks in the past two weeks with five reported cases. In 2008 we had a big outbreak in Salzburg, where pupils from an anthroposophical school fell ill because they were not vaccinated. We have had 1,000 measles cases reported over the past twelve years, ”said Pamela, Rendi-Wagner, Head of Public Health at the Ministry.
WHO expects the number of unreported cases The World Health Organization (WHO) expects the number of unreported cases to be ten. “That would be around 10,000 diseases in Austria. 16 children died of a fatal aftermath. In Bulgaria alone there were around 22,000 measles cases in 2010, there were outbreaks in the five-digit range in France, Germany and Italy, ”said Rendi-Wagner. The only protection against this is the MMR vaccination. According to the expert, the first vaccination should be given from the eleventh month of life and the second until the end of the second year of life. But "we are far too late with the children," says Rendi-Wagner.
Vaccination rate of 95 percent “We only have protection rates between 60 and 80 percent for the two-year-olds. Action is needed, ”says Stöger. Only from a vaccination rate of 95 percent of the population does the so-called "herd protection" result from the interruption of the circulation of the viruses for people who have never had the disease or cannot get the vaccination, such as infants under the age of 11 months, immunosuppressed and pregnant women is. The Austrian Ministry of Health joins the WHO campaign. “We have currently not reached the 95 percent vaccination rate. We won't achieve that by 2015 either. But we want to have the goal, ”explained the section head.
Young adults as a second target group The second target group besides the parents and their babies are young adults. “We also see vaccination gaps in young adults from the mid-20s to the late 30s. These are the age groups that have not yet been covered by the vaccination programs, ”said Rendi-Wagner. The MMR vaccine for catch-up vaccinations has been offered to all Austrians up to the age of 45 free of charge since summer 2011. As the section head explained, the vaccine was extremely effective and well tolerated: “There has been no recognized vaccine damage for measles vaccinations in the past 14 years - with three million vaccine cans vaccinated since 1998. "
Combined measles-mumps vaccination
In Germany you can now get a quadruple vaccine against measles and mumps. This also protects against rubella and chickenpox. Vaccinations are recommended by the Robert Koch Institute's Standing Vaccination Committee (STIKO) for various diseases and groups of people. Last year, for example, STIKO had spoken out in favor of having teachers and nurses vaccinated against mumps in general. The change in vaccination recommendations was the result of a mump outbreak at a primary school in Nuremberg in 2011, which found that some teachers had no protection against the disease. This had significantly promoted the spread of the diseases. (ad)