Measles have been eradicated in America, Australia and Scandinavia. Instead, the number of cases increased in 2016 and fewer Germans were vaccinated than before.
Measles on the retreat
In 1980, around 500,000 people worldwide still developed measles. After extensive vaccinations, there were little more than 139,000 in 2010.
Measles - Not a harmless childhood disease
Contrary to popular belief, measles is neither a childhood disease nor harmless. Adults are also affected and pregnant women fall ill, which can have serious consequences for the child. For example, in March 2017, 17 children died of measles in Romania.
Inflammation of the brain
For example, children can contract brain inflammation and die from measles. Measles weaken the immune system and attack the liver, lungs and intestines. If the viruses get into the brain, they can lead to measles encephalitis, which can result in permanent disability, a loss of consciousness - or death. After all, this inflammation of the brain occurs in one in every 1,000 sick children.
Sometimes the viruses damage the immune system so much that other pathogens penetrate. They can then cause pneumonia, hepatitis or otitis media.
There is no therapy against the measles virus. Only the symptoms can be alleviated: paracetamol or ibuprofen helps against the fever, antibiotics against the inflamed red spots.
Doctors advise vaccinations
The best remedy for measles is vaccination. The first takes place between the 11th and 14th month. A second vaccination should be started from the 15th month. Then the vaccinations last a lifetime.
Are vaccinations dangerous?
Some parents distrust measles vaccinations because they have side effects. But this applies to all vaccinations.
With measles vaccinations, the injection site can become inflamed and the so-called vaccination measles can occur. It is a light version of measles with cough, runny nose, mild fever and little rash.
Not enough vaccinations?
In contrast to the USA, measles epidemics occur repeatedly in Germany. Professor Gerhard Gaedicke, director of the Clinic for Pediatrics at the Charite in Berlin, considers the lack of vaccination protection to be the cause.
Many forget the second vaccination
For example, many parents had their children vaccinated against measles for the first time, but forgot the second vaccination, and the only vaccinated children had no complete vaccination protection, said Gaedicke.
No full herd immunity
The more people who get vaccinated, the more the herd immunity increases. Viruses are finding fewer and fewer bodies to spread in, and the disease can no longer spread epidemically.
Infants are affected
Measles vaccination has been a major topic at the European Immunization Week since April 24th. Pediatricians point out that out of 450 measles cases reported to the Robert Koch Institute, 50 were infants. Vaccination is all the more important.
Vaccination skeptics call for a free decision about getting vaccinated. Doctors reply that this would contradict the nature of a vaccination. The more people are vaccinated, the less the pathogen spreads to unvaccinated people like infants. Only mass vaccinations could build up herd immunity. (Dr. Utz Anhalt)