School in Erftstadt closed for measles

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Measles outbreak at Walldorf School in Erftstadt

A school had to be closed yesterday due to a measles outbreak in the Rhein-Erft district. Several pupils fell ill at the free Waldorf school in Erftstadt, so the health department sent all 396 pupils home for safety reasons. The headmaster, Matthias Nantke, informed the authorities on Monday that three siblings were suffering from measles. Since then, more children have fallen ill.

Measles spreads in the Rhein-Erftkreis After Bavaria and Berlin were primarily affected by the outbreak of measles, the disease now appears to be spreading in North Rhine-Westphalia. As Franz-Josef Schuba, head of the health department in the Rhein-Erft district, told the newspaper “Rheinische Post”, three siblings aged 16, 18 and 19 from the municipality of Vettweiß had made contact with a Munich family, in whose environment measles had also occurred. The pupils concerned attend the free Walddorf school in Erftstadt, which was then closed for security reasons. “Since then, seven other students have been infected. And we expect that there will be more every hour, "said Schuba. After a check of the vaccination passes by employees of the health department," a vaccination rate of only 26 percent "was found. Therefore, the school will remain closed until next Tuesday for the time being. “Not only the students, but also our 40 colleagues have to first clarify their vaccination status. Until then, no lessons can take place, "Alfons Thelen-Brücher, spokesman for the Free Waldorf School Erftstadt, told the newspaper.

Jan Leidel, chairman of the Robert Koch Institute's (RKI) Standing Vaccination Committee (STIKO), told the paper that there were only 30 cases up to the current measles outbreak in North Rhine-Westphalia. In 2012, only 166 measles cases were registered. This year, however, 1,073 people had measles by June 30. Most of the illnesses occurred with 478 cases in Bavaria and with more than 400 in Berlin. The high number is "not dramatic, but annoying and depressing," said Leidel. "The fluctuations are not unusual, but disappointing according to the good 2012 figures."

Adolescents and adults often not vaccinated against measles As Martin Terhardt from the Professional Association of Pediatricians in Germany (BVKJ) told the newspaper, the main problem is not that toddlers are not vaccinated, but rather the lack of vaccination protection for adolescents and adults. He advises adults and children to have their vaccination status checked and get a quick vaccination if the vaccination protection is insufficient. "If this happens within three days, the course of the disease can be significantly weakened," says Terhardt.

"The high number of measles diseases in Germany shows that the previous vaccination concepts have not worked sufficiently," warned Wolfram Hartmann, President of the BVKJ. "We need binding rules that ensure that all children demonstrate age-appropriate vaccination protection before admission to a daycare facility, that is, they are vaccinated according to the current recommendations of STIKO, which represent the scientific standard in Germany, provided there are no medical contraindications to one Vaccination is available. "

Minister of Health Daniel Bahr (FDP) had also recently spoken out in favor of introducing vaccination against measles. It is irresponsible if parents do not have their children vaccinated, said the politician. However, Leidel sees no solution in this. “Our society is skeptical of any constraint. This would make a duty counterproductive. "He also asked himself what the consequences of non-compliance should be.

Measles can cause serious illnesses. Although measles is a dangerous infectious disease, it is often played down as a childhood disease. But especially in older and immunodeficient patients, severe illnesses can occur, for example with pneumonia. Healthy, young people can also develop a life-threatening measles infection. So-called subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE, generalized inflammation of the brain with nerve removal) causes the most serious damage and inevitably leads to the patient's death. About every ten thousand patients are affected as a late consequence. One in 1,000 patients also suffers from life-threatening inflammation of the brain.

The SSPE incubation period is several years. First of all, there is a loss of brain nerve cells, which is shown by psychological and intellectual changes and dropouts. Then epileptic seizures and failures of important nerve functions occur until the patient dies in the last stage of the disease. (ag)

Image: Cornelia Menichelli /

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