Public Health Authority Warns about Measles Outbreak Risk

The Federation entity’s public health agency said that the risk of a measles outbreak in Bosnia is higher after recent outbreaks of the viral contagion in several European countries, due to a thinning herd immunity.

The Sarajevo-based agency said the rate of immunization against measles, rubella and mumps has been on a steady decline in recent years. In 2016, it dropped to a worrying 63.5%. Last year, 24 cases of measles were reported in the entity, but all of them were individual. An effective herd immunity requires the population immunization rate of 90%-95%.

Complications are usually more severe in adults

The last measles outbreak in the Federation happened in 2014 and 2015, when the public health agency recorded 533 persons hospitalized due to complications. The agency said that a strong herd immunity protects the community members who can’t be immunized because of health risks, as well as newborns and pregnant women.

Measles is an airborne disease which spreads easily through the coughs and sneezes of those infected. It may also be spread through contact with saliva or nasal secretions. Nine out of ten people who are not immune and share living space with an infected person will catch it. People are infectious to others from four days before to four days after the start of the rash.

Two fatalities in Serbia

Complications with measles are relatively common, ranging from mild complications such as diarrhea to serious complications such as pneumonia and acute brain inflammation. Complications are usually more severe in adults who catch the virus. People that are at high risk for complications are infants and children aged under 5 years, adults aged 20 years and above, pregnant women and people with compromised immune systems, such as from leukemia and HIV infection.

Recently, an adult man and a toddler died in Serbia due to complications with measles. Both were reportedly not vaccinated.

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