Latest Measles Outbreak is Challenging Countries Throughout Europe

Latest Measles Outbreak is Challenging Countries Throughout Europe

For years, measles was seen as a relatively rare disease in the United States and certain European countries. But times have changed. Nine European countries, including Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Romania, Spain, and Switzerland, have each reported more than three dozen cases of measles since the beginning of 2017.

Romania is most affected, with approximately 3800 cases and 17 deaths from September 2016 to March 17, 2017. Of reported cases, 96% were individuals who had not been vaccinated. Additionally, Italy has reported 700 cases thus far in 2017 – more than three times the number of cases in the same period last year. On March 24 of this year, a measles-related death of a young man was reported in the Swiss press. While this man’s death was attributed to a weakened immune system resulting from the leukemia treatment he was receiving, Switzerland has experienced 52 cases thus far in 2017 – a tenfold increase from the prior year.

Measles outbreaks highlight the classic “spark and spread” nature of infectious diseases. Case in point, an infected traveler brought measles to Disneyland-USA in 2014 (the spark), and the virus transmitted (the spread) to over 120 people in three countries via unvaccinated individuals.  Therefore, mitigating the risk of disease involves understanding both the risk of introduction of disease as well as the cultural and demographic factors associated with transmission, vulnerability and preparedness.

“The current outbreak of measles in Europe highlights the need for countries to continue to understand their public health limitations and put in place proactive mitigation strategies. In the case of Switzerland, it was to continue the push for higher vaccination coverage for measles. In other countries, it might be to first identify and quantify their risks ” noted Metabiota’s Chief Scientific Officer, Eddy Rubin. “

Metabiota is continuing to monitor the measles outbreaks in Europe as well as several other ongoing outbreaks throughout the world.  With this information, it is creating dymamic infectious disease scenario modeling for it’s customers worldwide. For additional insights and ongoing prospective, visit Metabiota Risk Insights.

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