Last weekend, a 17-year-old girl from the province of Zeeland (The Netherlands) has died of complications after a measles infection. She was not vaccinated against the disease. Since May, cases of measles are being reported in The Netherlands, especially among the unvaccinated population. The last measles outbreak was in 1999/2000. More than 3,000 patients have been reported in that period, three patients died.
Up to now, a number of 2016 patients with measles were reported. The actual number of patients is probably much higher because many patients do not visit the doctor. 121 Patients have been hospitalized, including 61 patients with pneumonia and 1 patient with a brain inflammation (encephalitis).
Children from 6 to 14 months in municipalities where vaccination coverage is low (less than 90 %), are offered an additional MMR vaccination against measles, mumps , rubella. Older children up to 18 years who are not vaccinated against measles, can get the vaccination at the Area Health Authorities.
Measles is a highly infectious viral disease. It starts with
fever, general malaise, listlessness, colds and coughs. After
several days to a week the red spots occur. Sometimes patients get
middle ear infection or pneumonia. A rare complication is
encephalitis. In exceptional cases, patients die from measles.
Vaccination is very effective against the disease.