Immunization Could Have Prevented Fatal Measles Outbreak in Germany

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WHO/Bulletin

February 2009

GENEVA – A recent measles outbreak in Germany has highlighted the need for vaccination reminders and better information for parents, according to research published today in the international public health journal, the Bulletin of the World Health Organization.

A study of the outbreak in the German city of Duisburg found that at least 80% of 614 measles cases in 2006 were reported as “unvaccinated”. The main reasons given were that parents either forgot to take their children to be vaccinated or rejected the vaccine, for various reasons including the mistaken belief that it was dangerous. 

 Even in countries with good health services, measles can be very serious, particularly in young children, according to Dr Peter Strebel from the Department of Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals at the World Health Organization. “Measles still causes an estimated 197 000 deaths each year around the world, the majority of them children under the age of five. Parents and doctors need to be reminded that measles is a highly contagious disease.  Even healthy and well-nourished children, if unvaccinated, are at risk of measles and its complications such as pneumonia, encephalitis and, although rare, death.”

 As a result of the outbreak in Germany, two children died of encephalitis and 95 were hospitalized. 

Read the study here: http://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/87/2/07-050187.pdf

The Bulletin of the World Health Organization is an international journal of public health with a special focus on developing countries. It is one of the world’s leading public health journals and the flagship periodical of the World Health Organization. 

This issue covers a spectrum of topics including: 

Spotlight on cholera: a recent outbreak in Zimbabwe highlights failures worldwide. Also we interview two men who changed the way the world treats diarrhoeal diseases

  • Why do babies with good access to health care in Pakistan die?

  • How the Thai government consulted the public to help shape future public health policies

  • Why do health workers in the United Republic of Tanzania fail to follow guidelines for severely ill children

  • Link between poverty and parasitic skin diseases

  • Cutting-edge health information system is rolled out in Belize

  • Innovative mechanism to fund medicines in the Sudan

  • Best methods for trachoma surveys

 

The Bulletin's table of contents can be found at: 
 http://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/87/2/en/index.html 

 

For further information please contact:

 

Dr Peter Strebel

Department of Immunization,

Vaccines and Biologicals

World Health Organization,

Geneva, SwitzerlandOffice : +41 22 79 11338E-mail : This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

Media contact :  Ms Hayatee HasanTel: +41 22 79 12103E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  Dr Ole Wichmann (co-author of study)Robert Koch-Institut, Berlin, Germany

 

Media contact: Ms Susanne GlasmacherTel: +49 30 18754 2286 /2562 /2239

E-Mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Ms Fiona Fleck, News Editor

Bulletin of the

World Health OrganizationGeneva, SwitzerlandTel: +41 22 791 1897Mobile: +41 78 678 9079E-mail : This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

Ms Sarah CumberlandOffice: +44 22 791 32 64Mobile: +33 6 31 66 60 32E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  

   

 

NOTICE TO READERS: The Bulletin of the World HealthOrganization was created by WHO as a forum for publichealth experts to publish their findings, express their viewsand engage a wider audience on critical public health issues ofthe day. Consequently, the views expressed by the writers in these pages do not necessarily represent the views of WHO.

 

 
Last Updated on Thursday, 18 June 2009 09:13