The measles epidemic, the first case of which occurred in the Netherlands in May 2013, is coming to an end. So far, over 2600 patients with measles have been reported, but over the last few weeks the number of new reports has decreased. Because hardly any reports are coming in from the municipalities with a low vaccination rate against measles (under 90 percent), providing complementary vaccination for children aged six months is no longer required in these municipalities. Based on advice provided by the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, Minister Edith Schippers of Health, Welfare and Sports has decided to cease the provision of complementary vaccinations as per 1 March 2014. The regular vaccination policy for measles will be maintained.
Have you received an invitation?
Parents of children aged six months from a municipality with a low vaccination rate can ignore an invitation they have received for this complementary MMR vaccination. These children are provided with an MMR vaccination at the age of 14 months, according to the schedule of the National Vaccination Programme. The regular vaccination policy concerning patients with measles is maintained, meaning that an MMR vaccination is actively offered to unvaccinated family members of the measles patient. In addition, it is advised to ensure that children who have missed one or more vaccinations from the National Vaccination Programme do receive their vaccinations. The local Child and Youth Health Services execute this policy.
Measles is an extremely contagious rash-causing disease caused by a virus. The disease sets in suddenly with fever, total malaise, a cold and coughing, followed by red spots a few days up to a week later. Some patients also catch otitis media or pneumonia. An uncommon complication is encephalitis. In rare cases, patients die of the complications of measles. There is no treatment for measles, but most patients recover fully. Vaccination provides protection against the disease, and vaccination has been included in the National Vaccination Programme in 1976.