What Is Measles?
Measles is a highly contagious infectious disease caused by a viral infection. The common symptoms are – fever, runny nose, and coughing. In the 4-5th day, a typical rash apears on the skin and inside to mouth (see picture).
The disease is usually harmless, but sometimes it can lead to severe complications, such as Pneumonia and in rare cases, severe irreversible brain damage.
The current outbreak
An outbreak of Measles that started a year ago (2016) in Romania, has been spreading to many other countries in Europe, and there are reports of new cases despite national operations to speed up vaccination in those countries.
As of 1 January 2017, in addition to Romania, measles outbreaks were reported in the following countries:
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain and Sweden.
In other parts of the world: outbreaks of measles reported in countries in Africa, Southeast Asia and Western Pacific. Disease outbreaks were also reported in the US, Canada, and Australia.
The vast majority of infected patients are not immunized as needed against measles.
Following the outbreak of the disease in Europe, the Israeli Ministry of Health recommends all passengers traveling abroad, to make sure they are vaccinated, especially those who plan to visit one of the countries mentioned above.
Who should be vaccinated?
· Anyone born in Israel from 1958 to 1977 and did not get Measles disease in the past, should be vaccinated.
o 1958-1970 – 2 doses, 4 weeks apart.
o 1971-1977 – 1 dose.
· Babies younger than 12 months should get 1 dose at 6-11 months of age.
This dose will not be counted as a valid dose in the routine vaccination schedule, and it should be repeated after the age of 12 months, regularly.
The following groups are considered to be immune:
· Anyone born in Israel before 1957.
· Those who were born in Israel from 1978 and received the regular vaccination plan.
· Anyone with a laboratory documentation of measles immunity (antibodies).
· A person who has medical documentation of a disease in the past, which has been diagnosed clinically and laboratory.
· Anyone who has documentation of receiving two doses of the vaccine, at an interval of at least 4 weeks apart, given after the age of 12 months.
Please note: 10-14 days are required to develop immunity against measles, after getting the vaccine.
One dose of vaccination provides 95% protection against the disease.
Where can you get the vaccine?
Vaccinations are being given at all the travelers clinics in Tel Aviv.