Germany faces spotty measles coverage
Health officials are warning that Germany’s failure to have blanket vaccinations for measles is putting people unnecessarily at risk of catching the potentially dangerous disease.
The Federal Centre for Health Information (BZgA) said this week that everyone born after 1970 should double check to see if they have been properly vaccinated.
The World Health Organization (WHO) wants to eradicate measles by 2015 in Europe, but Germany has not managed to have the required 95 percent of its population vaccinated.
“The only reservoir for the measles virus is infected people,” said Reinhard Burger, the president of Germany’s RKI infectious diseases institute.
Normally two vaccinations are given to the first two years of a child’s life.
Besides causing those infected to break out in a rash of red spots, highly contagious measles can lead to serious bacterial infections, inflammation of the brain and in some cases even death.
Measles outbreaks in Germany have fluctuated dramatically in recent years, with only 166 recorded last year, but around 1,600 in 2011 and 780 in 2010.